As we mentioned in part one of our parent’s guide to teens and oral health, teenagers face different oral health challenges than children or adults at any other age. Understanding these unique concerns can be a challenge in and of itself, so your Overland Park dentist has assembled a handy guide to some of the most common questions and concerns that parents have when it comes to helping to ensure that their teens have the healthiest smiles possible.
Teenagers and Diet
Diet has a major impact on overall health, particularly oral health. Besides a healthy diet with plenty of good, nutritious foods, teenagers especially need to watch out for sugary snacks, sodas, and energy drinks that can damage tooth enamel and promote cavities. Coffee and tea can also stain teeth, and the heavily sweetened coffees available at lots of coffee shops are often full of sugar that can promote tooth decay. Fortunately there are plenty of healthy foods available for you and your family that are also superfoods for your teen’s teeth!
Teenagers on the Go
It’s a hectic and fast-paced world that we live in, and between school, friends, after school commitments, and part-time jobs, it sometimes seems like teens never slow down. Fortunately, there are little tricks that can help even the busiest teen stay healthy and smiling. Sometimes it’s as simple as making sure they have sugar-free gum to chew after eating when they can’t brush their teeth, or packing healthy snacks for them when you’re rushing to soccer or dance class. For those teens who’re going out for sports, it’s important to make sure that they have the right equipment, and that includes proper mouth guards. It can also be a good idea to make sure that your teens have the number for their Overland Park dentist in their phones, just in case there’s some sort of dental emergency.
Teenagers and Lifestyle Choices
We’ve already talked about the dangers that can come with consuming too many energy drinks and caffeinated beverages—on top of their impact on teeth, studies have found that most teens also aren’t getting enough sleep. There are also other lifestyle choices that can have a big impact on your teen’s oral health. Smoking or other tobacco use can lead to permanently stained teeth, not to mention other health risks. One big oral health concern that many teenagers—and their parents—don’t think about is oral piercings. Whether in the tongue, lip, or cheek, any piercing that affects the mouth has the potential to lead to infections, chipped teeth, and other concerns.
Lifestyle choices are just that, though: a part of your teen’s lifestyle. As such, they may be very important to them. So when it’s time to talk about the risks associated with a particular choice, be sure to be supportive, while still making sure that your teen understands the challenges that they may face.
For most of us, good oral health isn’t something we think about on a day-to-day basis. It’s the result of habits that we’ve built up and learned over time. Your teens are still learning these daily oral health habits, and so one of the most important things that you can do to promote good oral health in your teens is to practice good dental habits yourself. That means eating a healthy diet, as well as regular brushing, flossing, and trips to your Overland Park dentist.
If you’d like to learn more about how to promote good oral health habits for your family or yourself, or if you have any questions, you can call your Overland Park dentist today at (913) 338-3384 or fill out our quick and easy online contact form to schedule an appointment!