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Oral Health and Teenagers

When it comes to our kids’ oral health, many parents are diligent and watch their children’s oral hygiene habits like a hawk. From help with brushing and flossing to regular dental appointments for routine cleanings, x-rays, and exams, parents today are on their A game, so to speak. But what happens when those kids get a bit older, and say, hit the teen years. Obviously you can’t brush and floss their teeth for them anymore, and we all know getting teens to do what they’re told can sometimes be a challenge. So, what can you do to ensure your teen is taking care of their teeth now that they’re old enough to handle the responsibility on their own? Here are some tips for teen oral health care that you may find useful.

Check in

When it comes to teens, it can’t hurt to check in with them from time to time. Whether you’re asking about their relationships with peers to ward off potential bullying to inquiring about their grades, it’s important to touch base with your teen, however private they may be. It’s no different when it comes to their oral health routine. Checking in doesn’t have to mean the third degree, it can simply be a passing “How are you doing with your oral health? Any concerns?”

Regular Checkups

Teens today lead busy lives. From academics to extracurriculars, hanging out with friends and even their first job, teens may not have a whole lot of free time for important things, such as dental appointments. That’s where parents come in. It’s important to have your teen clear their schedule for doctor and dentist appointments, even if they insist they’re busy. This can help prevent cavities, or prevent already existing cavities from worsening. It can also help Dr. Mingus get a better idea of what your teen is doing right – and wrong- when it comes to their oral hygiene. This can help him make recommendations for your teen to take better care of their oral health.

Protect their Teeth

Does your teen play sports? Sports are great for teaching teens about teamwork, and can have great physical and mental benefits too. Unfortunately, they can also be bad for teeth if left unprotected. If your teen plays sports -especially contact sports- a custom mouth guard may be a sound investment in protecting their teeth. Speak to Dr. Mingus about having a protective mouthguard made to fit your teen’s mouth. Custom professionally made mouthguards are more comfortable than those ‘boil and bite’ guards you get at the store, and are thus more likely to be worn by your teen.

Cut Yourself Some Slack

Raising children can be hard work, so don’t forget to be kind to yourself when things don’t go as planned. Just do your best when it comes to your teen’s oral health, and you will instill healthy habits in your teen that will last a lifetime.