You’ve done the work—you’ve gotten your child to brush his or her teeth. You got them to wear the mouthguard during soccer and get braces during childhood. Now, your little one is growing up fast into a teen! Teenagers tend to listen less to their parents as they get older; this can be true when it comes to teeth and gums. Here are the top five dental health hazards for your teen.
1. Unhealthy Diet
Your teen’s diet is very important to the health of their smile. Unfortunately, teens tend to consume more sugar and unhealthy snacks. These include drinks such as sodas, energy drinks, and sports drinks, which can be loaded with sugar and caffeine. Both of these additives are acidic to teeth and can damage enamel. Snacks such as prepackaged foods or fast food can be high in sugar and carbohydrates, which can damage teeth and provide little nutrients in return. Encourage your teen to eat healthy by providing plenty of water at home and packing snacks such as apples, carrots, and nuts for outings!
2. Sub-par Brushing Habits
While brushing may have been fun as a kid, your teenager probably sees it as more of a chore. Teens are infamous for neglecting to floss or skipping brushing from time to time. If your teen is skipping brushing in the morning or evening, have a talk with them about their dental health. Visiting the dentist is a crucial time in which your dentist can properly clean your child’s teeth and help coach them on the right dental health habits!
3. Neglecting to Properly Clean Braces
If your teenager has braces, properly cleaning in-between all the brackets and wires is important. Usually, they’ll need a special flossing tool in order to get under the braces and floss their teeth correctly. Teens may neglect their braces and therefore compromise their oral health while they’re getting treatment. Support your teen’s orthodontic treatment by getting flossers, water picks, or electric toothbrushes. These can help better clean tight spaces and eliminate plaque build-up in those hard-to- reach areas!
4. Oral Piercings
Piercings are popular among teenagers. Lip, tongue, and cheek piercings are highly damaging to anyone’s smile. Teenagers often don’t think about the consequences of getting an oral piercing when it comes to their teeth and gums. Any oral piercing has the potential to cause gum recession and fractured teeth. Lip piercings often rub against the gumline and can cause gums to recede, therefore causing tooth sensitivity and permanent damage. Tongue piercings can knock against teeth, causing cracks or chips that’ll need treatment to repair.
If your teenager plays sports, this heightens their risk to receive a mouth injury. Teenagers can experience knocked-out teeth, chipped teeth, or fractured teeth from a sports injury. If your teen plays any kind of contact sport, encourage them to wear a mouthguard. This is especially important if they have braces!
Teenagers don’t like to listen, but do your best to give them the best advice when it comes to their oral health. Damaging their smile with improper brushing habits, a poor diet, and oral piercings can affect their smile long-term. Talk to them about the consequences and as always, get them to the dentist for that check-up!