Do you have a teenager in your house? When it comes to family dentistry, your Portland dentist at Burlingame Dental Arts puts special emphasis on teenagers for good reason. Teenagers comprise a unique group of patients— not quite kids, not quite adults. And while teenage oral care sometimes varies– and widely– good oral care makes a big difference on their lifelong dental health.
Why target teens?
As we know, good oral hygiene is important at every age and stage of life. When it comes to teenagers, oral hygiene may present a special challenge for a few reasons:
- Changing schedules. Teenagers are increasingly independent, and more and more, they follow their own schedules– this can impact oral care, which certainly does depend on a schedule. In addition, teenagers commonly take on new commitments– like an early morning class or new sport, eat at odd hours, stay out late or wake up early.
- New teeth. While we think of younger children as being the primary bearers of new teeth, the last permanent teeth, including wisdom teeth, actually erupt during the teenage years. Brand-new teeth are even more susceptible to gathering plaque and possible decay, so excellent oral hygiene is especially important at this time– after all, these new teeth are for life!
- New everything! Teenagers love to try new things. In general, this exploratory stage of life is a wonderful– and sometimes hilarious– time, but be aware that it can impact oral health. Your son trying his hand at National Novel Writing Month is one thing, entering a soda-drinking contest or a dangerous full-contact sport is another!
So what can we do to help teens?
Fortunately, assisting teens in oral health involves something they’re ready to give– their opinion. Because teenagers naturally want more responsibility and more independence, oral care is a good task for a teenager to demonstrate his or her responsibility and grown-up abilities at taking care of business.
Ask your son or daughter about what schedule fits his or her lifestyle best and work together with your teenager to create an oral hygiene regime that they choose. Compromise works great in this area (and in all other teenage-related areas). For example, ask that your teenager floss once a day but they choose whether to do it in the morning or night.
Other suggestions that your Portland dentist at Burlingame Dental Arts has found success with:
- Expound on how attractive fresh breath and a spinach-free smile are to the opposite sex
- Supply a “brushing on the go” kit for a busy teenager, including floss, toothpaste, and toothbrush
- Xylitol gum is a good option for snackers– xylitol has caries-fighting abilities, and with fresh breath people are less apt to snack in the first place
- Keep up with regular appointments to Burlingame Dental Arts– this allows us to catch any small problems before they become big ones!
It’s all in the journey
Parenting teenagers is challenging, fun, and often funny. With some education and a lot of teamwork, we are here to help you and your teenager enjoy a beautiful smile for a lifetime.
Questions? Suggestions? Call or schedule your next appointment now. We love to see you.