Teen years are a rocky period for our children, to put it mildly. Their bodies are rapidly changing and their mood seems to be shifting all the time, so most parents end up being confused about how they can help them stay healthy during this tumultuous time of their life.
Well, good hygiene lessons are best taught at home, and if you want your teen to have good oral health, now’s a great opportunity to teach them more about how they can care for their teeth. If you want to know what you can expect and how you can help your child learn all the right skills, read on.
Start with good dental habits
A child that might have been very diligent about oral hygiene when they were small might grow a little lax when they hit their teen years. It’s a normal thing that happens with a lot of people, but you should talk to them about it and remind them that good habits come a long way. Since nagging and pestering rarely gets parents anywhere, the best thing you can do is simply have an adult conversation about it and lead by example—brush your own teeth regularly, floss after each meal, and schedule frequent dentist visits for the family so you could all have good oral health.
Braces and self-esteem
Teen years are the best age to reshape crooked teeth and set everything straight, so make sure your teen sees a dentist and gets their recommendation. If the dentist says that yes, they’ll need braces, be prepared to deal with your child’s anxiety and low self-esteem. Braces won’t look attractive to them, and it might be a little difficult to convince them that it’s a good idea to invest in their future now so they’d look great later. Talk to them, tell them about the pearly white attractive smile they can expect from this experience, and reassure them that they still look great.
Practice caution during sports
Teens who are very active and play sports regularly might need to pay special attention to teeth and jaw injuries. If they’re playing contact sports such as rugby or wrestling, they will definitely need protection, so invest in a custom wrestling mouth guard to keep their teeth safe. Don’t discourage them from following their passion and enjoying physical activity—as long as they take proper steps and practice caution, their teeth will be just fine.
Consider wisdom teeth removal
Unless your child’s wisdom teeth start growing straight, it’s usually a good idea to remove them. Wisdom teeth might not present much of an issue now, but if they become active later in life and start growing crooked or even sideways, they could damage the jaw and cause a lot of pain. It’s best to have an X-ray done to see their positioning, and then remove them if the dentist thinks they might start causing problems later on.
While there’s nothing wrong with drinking an occasional soda drink and eating candy in moderation, having a bad diet can significantly impact your teeth and cause a lot of cavities. Teach your teen which foods are good for them and which can cause weight gain, rotting teeth, and bad complexion, and make sure to provide them with plenty of home-cooked, healthy meals to get them used to proper nutrition.
Discuss smoking habits
A teen who starts smoking is every parent’s nightmare, but if you catch them doing it, it’s important to stay calm and deal with the situation straight away. Be firm and very strict about them using cigarettes, but have an understanding of why they’re doing it. Peer pressure and rebelliousness usually lead to this bad habit, and the best way to help them stop it is to appeal to their vanity and show them the consequences of cigarette use, such as yellowing of the skin and teeth, brittle hair, and a whole slew of diseases that could seriously damage their health. Try to get them to actually use logic and think the whole thing through—are there any real benefits of smoking other than the fact they think it might make them look cool?
Keep communication open and lead by example. If your teen hears you saying one thing but sees you doing something else, they’re unlikely to follow your rules. Simply be honest and help them learn the habits that will mean a lot later in life.
Guest post by Brigitte Evans
About the Author
Brigitte is a cosmetic skin care consultant and an editor for highstylife.com. When she is not drooling over the next big thing in the beauty industry, she is reading mystery novels and making plans for her next trip. She is a proud aunt of Sophie, age 2 who rounded her Chanel lipstick but loves her anyway. Find Brigitte on Twitter and Facebook.
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