Dental Care Tips for Teens

When your child is young, you get to make almost all of their decisions for them. But as they get older and enter their teen years, they start to become responsible for more of their own actions. This can be tough when it comes to things like dental care. You can't force your teen to brush their teeth or eat less-sugary foods, but that does not mean you can't still take an active role in promoting good dental care at this time in their life. Here are some ways you can help and encourage your teen to take better care of their dental health.

1. Keep the fridge stocked with tooth-healthy foods.

You can't keep your teen from getting a candy bar out of the vending machine at school, or from stopping by the fast food restaurant on their walk home from a friend's house. But what you can do is ensure that the food they eat at home is good for their teeth. Don't keep things like soda or candy in your fridge or pantry at all. Stock the fridge with tooth-healthy snacks like cheese sticks, sliced veggies, and yogurt.

2. Let them buy their own toothbrush and toothpaste.

When they enter the teen years, kids are attracted to responsibility. If you let them take responsibility for something, they will often take to that responsibility with confidence. When it comes to tooth care, you can apply this knowledge by letting your teen shop for their own toothbrush and toothpaste. This gives them a sense of control, so they'll be more likely to actually brush their teeth. Whatever you do, make sure you don't pester them about brushing or remind them too often — this can make them feel like you're trying to have too much control and may actually drive them to brush their teeth less often.

3. Ask the family dentist to weigh in on the importance of dental care.

Often, teens will take advice more seriously when it comes from an adult other than their parents. If your teen has a dental checkup coming up, call the office in advance and ask if the dentist or dental hygienist can spend a few minutes talking to your teen about the importance of good dental care and how to care for their teeth.

When encouraging good dental care in teens, you sometimes have to get creative. Start with the ideas above, and go from there. For more information, contact a family dentist.