Teenagers, take care of your teeth
Getting a teenager to go to the dentist can literally be like pulling teeth - they're old enough to want to take care of themselves, but at the same time, you still have to be the parent. To cut down on unnecessary trips to the dentist, make sure your teen continues to follow these dental hygiene practices at home:
Brush More Often
Everyone should brush their teeth a minimum of once per day, and ideally after every meal. But there are certain times when brushing your teeth is most effective. For example, it's important to brush before going to bed, because the long period you are asleep can transform your mouth into a breeding ground for bacteria.
So, even though you might be in bed before your teen, if you can only get them to brush once a day, make it before bed. But it's best not to settle for the minimum - brushing after every meal, or at least after breakfast and before bed, will greatly improve your chances of cutting down on trips to the dentist.
Brush and Floss Properly
Although we may learn proper technique as children, by the time the teenage years roll around, those techniques could be long gone. Continuous improper brushing can lead to wearing down of enamel, and side effects such as tooth sensitivity could start to show at this age. It's best to avoid the scenario all together, but providing your teen with a soft-bristled brush and a quick reminder about brushing gently for 3 minutes could help minimize the damage. Also, a casual mention of how flossing and tongue brushing reduces bad breath is sure to get your dating teenager in line with oral hygiene!
Don't Rely On Mouthwash
While it may be a teen tendency to roll out of bed and dash out of the house in the morning, a swig of mouthwash just won't cut it over actual brushing and flossing. While some types of mouthwash contain bacteria-fighting agents, they are not nearly as effective as brushing or flossing when it comes to removing plaque. Mouthwash should only be used in addition with a healthy brushing and flossing regime.
It's almost a right of passage for teenagers to wear braces, and that throws an extra monkey wrench into good dental practice. Braces take special care and special tools to maintain good oral health - for example, care and attention must be taken in flossing behind and in between the braces, and also in brushing the tops and bottoms of the metal brackets. If not cared for properly, stains and signs of decay may be visible once the braces are removed. If your teenager is at all concerned about making sure those newly straightened teeth are pearly white, it will pay off to brush diligently.
Proper and regular brushing and flossing is the best way to ensure optimal dental hygiene, but there truly is no substitute for regular visits to the dentist. Keeping on top of your teen's appointments and ensuring they practice good dental health in the home will go along way to cutting out unnecessary time in the chair.