Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Importance of Dental Care for Teens

Teens are busy with school, sports, and social schedules, so you can be assured that taking care of their teeth is not exactly at the top of most teens' "To-Do" lists. Many teenagers may neglect their dental hygiene, even though their childhoods were likely filled with regular dental visits and lots of parental reinforcement about the importance of regular brushing, flossing, and making healthy food choices. As they begin driving and being away from home more, it's almost impossible to know for sure if they are taking proper care of their teeth at all!

By the time the teen years roll around, it takes more than anticipated visits from the tooth fairy to ensure good habits are in check for first-rate dental health. The late middle school and high school years are also when many young people either have braces or have just had them removed. The diligent flossing and brushing that took place during the time the braces were on certainly should not be abandoned when they come off!

The key to ensuring that teenagers take excellent care of their teeth and gums is this: make it extremely easy for them. Here are a few pointers:
  • Do discuss (one more time) how vital regular brushing and flossing are for maintaining dental health, white teeth, healthy gums, and fresh breath.
  • Talk with your teenager about the importance of eating wholesome, natural foods and snacks rather than those loaded with sugar, additives, and artificial ingredients. Then, make those food items readily available at home by stocking the fridge and pantry with choices such as fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, low fat dairy like yogurt and string cheese, and whole grain crackers.
  • If they play contact sports, mountain bike, skateboard or snowboard, impress upon them that participating without a mouthguard is not an option.
  • Assemble a few dental kits to ensure they'll always have what they need. Put one in their bathroom and one in their car or gym bag. Include these items: dental rinse, toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, and sugarless gum. For the "on-the-go" kit, include a water bottle, to make rinsing easier!
  • Invest in a Sonicare electric toothbrush and several battery-operated ones as well. Again, the key to success is having the right tools on hand. 
As always, be sure to keep your teen on-schedule with his or her routine appointments at Implant & General Dentistry in Raleigh. Give us a call if you're not when your next appointment is: 919-782-0548

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