By the time your child is a teenager, they’ve lost all their baby teeth and hopefully have gotten over any fear of the dentist. But that doesn’t mean that you don’t need to be concerned about your teen’s dental health. Your teenager’s mouth is changing as rapidly as the rest of their body is at this age, and teens have their own set of dental health concerns. Take a look at some important dental health tips for parents of teenagers.
Keep an Eye Out for Wisdom Teeth
Wisdom teeth are the last of the teeth to emerge, and they come much later than other types of teeth, usually somewhere in the mid-to-late teen years. Your teen may experience pain and discomfort when these teeth break through the gums.
For a long time, it was common practice to remove the wisdom teeth as soon as they emerge, and some dentists still routinely recommend it, while others take a wait-and-see approach. Wisdom teeth may become impacted, unable to fully break through the gums, or they may be positioned in such a way that your teen can’t reach them to brush and floss them thoroughly. This can lead to decay and infections if the teeth are not removed. It’s important to be on the lookout for wisdom teeth, so your teen’s dentist can determine if they need to be extracted.
Encourage a Healthy Diet
By the time they become teenagers, kids have much more control over their own diets than they did when they were small. This can result in some teens overindulging in junk food, sweets, and sugary sodas or energy drinks. These treats are OK in moderation, but if your teen overdoes it, a poor diet can take a toll on their teeth.
Talk to your teen about the importance of maintaining a diet that’s good for their body and for their oral health. Stock the fridge and pantry with tooth-friendly snacks and drinks. Remind them that their teeth need to last a lifetime, and to do that, they need a healthy diet full of nutrients.
Think Twice About Oral Piercings
It’s normal for teens to experiment with their looks, and some experimentation is harmless. However, oral piercings, such as tongue bars and lip rings, may not be so benign.
The mouth is full of bacteria, and it’s not uncommon for mouth piercings to become infected. Teens can also crack a tooth by biting down on a tongue bar or other oral piercing. Encourage your teen to discuss the risks of oral piercings with their dentist before making any decisions.
As a parent, it’s your job to ensure that your teen makes good dental health decisions during this crucial period in their development. This can protect them from painful and expensive dental problems in the future.