Your friends warned you about the teenage years. Your parents reminded you of your own behavior during the years between 13 and 19. So, how’s it going? Better than you ever imagined? Challenging? Frustrating? We hope it’s going well and that your child is a pleasure to live with. Whatever the case may be, we wanted to remind you that Moore Family Dental is here for you — and your teenager — just as we always are. It’s good to know that some things never change, right?
We’ve compiled a list of five things you should know about dental care during the teenage years. We hope it’s helpful!
1. We know your child’s teeth
Teenagers are vulnerable in many ways. They are going through a significant transition as they move from childhood toward adulthood. Their bodies are growing and changing in many ways, including hormonally. Even something pleasant like spending time with friends may be confusing and stressful because of peer pressure. As a result of all this, some young people become vulnerable to drugs, alcohol, eating disorders, smoking, or other risky behaviors. Did you know that some of these behaviors can be detected during a dental exam? Smoking, for example, discolors teeth. Bulimia erodes the enamel of the teeth. We take our commitment to your child’s oral health seriously, and we constantly monitor for any changes or signs of trouble.
2. Dental care is very important with braces, at any age
As noted above, good oral care is always important, but that is especially true with braces. Proper brushing and flossing helps maximize the positive effects of braces. If your teenager is unsure about the best ways to brush and floss with braces, let us know. We’d be happy to provide a crash course. We recognize that good oral care can be a little more challenging at this time, so we are always ready to offer a little extra help.
3. We can help with tooth sensitivity
Some people experience sensitivity, especially when they eat or drink hot or cold foods or beverages. If your teenager has developed a caffeine addiction, he or she may have discovered a sensitivity to hot beverages. If that’s the case, let us know. We can help determine the cause of the sensitivity and address it. Sometimes, people are embarrassed about this issue, but there’s no reason to be. If your teenager is hesitant to bring it up, let us know and we’ll work through it together.
4. Beware of DIY whitening
Many teenagers get caught up in the tooth-whitening craze by purchasing at-home products. We understand that they want to look their best, but we urge extreme caution in this regard. Whitening products contain chemicals that must be used appropriately, or they can have serious undesired effects. If a teenager doesn’t realize this, leaving a product on for a few extra minutes may seem like a good idea to achieve whiter teeth, but the results may not be what your teen is looking for. If you’d like to discuss safe whitening options, let us know.
5. Brushing and flossing are as important as ever
As a youngster, your child may have been very careful about brushing and flossing on a regular basis. However, as a teenager, that same individual may begin to take dental care less seriously. If you push the issue, will your teenager begin to rebel on this matter? Many of the same tips for dealing with this issue with young children may be helpful when it comes to teenagers. First, set a good example. If your teen sees you brushing, flossing, and otherwise taking good care of your teeth, he or she may begin to realize that the issue is important throughout life. Second, involve your teen in any choices; sometimes choosing one’s own toothbrush and/or toothpaste can make an individual more likely to use them on a regular basis. Finally, offer positive reinforcement. ”Wow, your teeth look great; I can tell you’re taking good care of them!” lets your teenager know that you notice the difference and the effort behind it.
The teenage years don’t last forever. If this is a challenging time, hang in there. If it’s going better than you had hoped, celebrate cautiously. Please contact us with any concerns. Good luck!