Talk to Your Teen about Oral Health

Posted on February 4, 2014 in Children’s Oral Health

No matter what the topic is, sitting down with your teen can get formal and awkward. Good thing you know that no matter how awkward the conversation, it is for their own good. Your teen may drive you crazy sometimes, but reinforcing good oral health habits is a must.

Teens are at high risk for cavities because they would rather text than brush their teeth. They may choose not to go to the dentist often for routine checkups. They are at risk for eating disorders, which can damage teeth. They may have mouth or tongue piercings, eat an unhealthy diet or drink sugary energy drinks. These are all reasons why these 3 oral health dangers may cause issues for your teen's teeth:

Food on the Go: Is your teen always rushing in and out of the house? Candy, potato chips and other foods high in sugar and starch are the enemy to your teen's teeth. Sugar breaks down to acids that destroy tooth enamel and result in cavities. Poor brushing and flossing habits can lead to cavities between teeth, a common problem in teens. Give them healthy snack options instead.

Oral piercings: Teens may think piercings look cool, but they can chip or break the tooth enamel. Piercings can cause the tongue to swell or may become infected, sending bacteria into the bloodstream. If your teen has a piercing, encourage them to see a dentist regularly.

A Caffeine Buzz: If your teen is a fan of soda or energy drinks, encourage them to read the labels. These drinks are full of sugar and caffeine. The added sugars attack their teeth and can contribute to gum disease. If your teen is an athlete, learn more about how they could be harming their teeth with sports drinks. Water is the best and healthiest hydration source.

As parents, you may find it hard to talk to your teen. But educating your teen now will help them have healthy teeth as an adult. If all else fails, appeal to their vanity – everybody loves a beautiful smile!