With school, activities, sports and friends, dental care may not seem important to your child, but as a parent, it is essential to teach your teenager proper oral care. And despite what they may believe, a clean mouth is more than minty mouth wash and chewing gum. Take time to help them establish good oral hygiene now, and these good habits will last a lifetime. So, here are some tips for your teen to help prevent dental issues before they start.
Communicate the importance of good oral hygiene. This means brushing at least twice a day and daily flossing daily. Plus, no teenager likes bad breath and preventing halitosis all starts with taking care of your mouth. Keeping supplies on hand like toothbrushes, floss and toothpaste in their bathroom also sets a good example and gives them the tools they need to prevent cavities and gum disease.
Schedule their dental cleanings. The American Dental Association recommends that your child visit the dentist at least once a year to get a professional teeth cleaning. Because although brushing and flossing is important, there are areas in your mouth that are difficult to clean themselves. Cleanings effectively remove plaque, which can become serious, and expensive, if left untreated.
Talk to your children about smoking and other tobacco products, and how they can lead to advanced gum disease. Smoking can also cause bad breath, stained teeth, inflammation, plaque build-up, bone jaw loss, tooth loss and can increase risk of oral cancer.
Encourage your child to wear a mouthguard. Does your child play sports? As a reminder, a mouthguard will protect teeth, face and mouth from serious injuries. So even though you or your children may not think a mouth guard is the coolest thing to wear, there are big advantages to wearing one.
Educate your children about oral piercings. Oral piercings (tongue, lips, cheek, uvula) can interfere with chewing, speech and swallowing. Sometimes, they can damage your teeth and gums, cause infection, excessive drooling or nerve damage. Read more about piercings and dental care here.
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