How to manage your teen’s dental habits?

How to Manage Your Teen’s Dental Habits?

Raising a teen comes with its own set of challenges: first crushes, mood swings, identity crises are all part of the package. The one thing that does not get sufficient attention, however, is their dental hygiene. Among the different changes that puberty marks, is the first full set of adult teeth that your child acquires. Unfortunately, the care that these require often goes unnoticed by teens and their parents. But good dental hygiene must feature prominently along with all the other positive habits you want your child to acquire during puberty. Here are different ways of managing your teen’s dental habits.


Make proper brushing a regular habit

Studies find that in the US, only around 25% of adults brush their teeth twice daily. Incidentally, exactly those number of people have decayed teeth. There is a relation between these two figures. Not brushing regularly can lead to easy tooth decay. This is especially true for young adolescents, who generally enjoy consuming a lot of sugary drinks and junk. Poor dental hygiene begins solidifying during adolescent years, where teenage rebellion may just make your children refuse to follow rules. A good way to have them follow rules is to treat them like an adult: with your dentist or over the internet, discuss with them the repercussions of not brushing daily, and tell them to make a choice. As young adults, this responsibility of choice-making will make them take it more seriously. This will ensure that they responsibly brush twice a day.

Watch out for adolescent sugar cravings

Studies find that when your child is undergoing growth spurts, they may just demand calorific junk food. This is because their bodies are growing at their fastest since they were babies, so their bodies’ energy demands are significantly high. The downside to this is that it has a direct impact on their oral hygiene. Calorific food is high in sugar, which causes tooth decay and cavities. Eating too many desserts or junk food can harm their teeth and their health. A hands-on way of dealing with this problem is to always have a healthy snack ready in the fridge. Keep fruits, healthy sandwiches and sugarless granola bars at easy-to-reach places. This means that when your teen gets hungry, he/she will eat these instead of calorific food! As a bonus, this will help them develop a healthy relationship with food.

Flossing regularly

Most children have a difficult time flossing, This means that either the parents completely skip on flossing as a dental hygiene technique, or the child grows dependant on the parents to help him or her do it. As children grow older, during adolescence, it is important that they learn how to do this vital health routine themselves. However, many parents are unaware of the proper techniques of flossing. To floss properly, one must follow a few steps. First, take a dental floss and wrap it around the middle finger of both hands, leaving quite a gap in between. Then, hold a small portion in between your forefingers and bring it between your teeth. In a slight curing motion, rub it against the edges of your tooth to remove food particles. Make sure to repeat this process throughout the mouth, with a special emphasis on the teeth at the back. Guide your young adult through this process and ensure that they floss at least once a day.

Getting Braces

A major part of dental hygiene during adolescent in braces. Most teens get braces because as their permanent teeth start growing, they can be all over the place. Getting adequate orthodontic care is an integral part of growing up: so much so that braces are a prominent feature in most films and books about adolescence! To see whether your young adult needs braces, take her to the dentist. Some children may be reluctant to visit the dentist or get braces, because of different dental anxieties floating in their mind. They may be worrying over how their social status in school may be affected by braces, how their appearance might change, or even how getting braces may be a very painful procedure. It is important that you talk them through these fears, and if needed, counsel them with a dentist. Once they have conquered their anxieties, getting dental care will become much easier. If they are to get braces, ensure that they take good care of them with regular brushing and keeping them clean. Getting regular orthodontic checkups for the maintenance and upkeep of the braces and their teeth is also vital.

Regular dental checkups

Going to the dentist twice a year should be a habit for life. Studies show that more than 30% of Americans do not visit the dentist regularly, which is why problems like decay, cavities, and pyorrhoea are common. This habit, of visiting the dentist regularly, will be easily developed in your child if you inculcate it in them. Take your child to the dentist regularly, so that by the time he or she is ready to move out, it is part of their personal care habits. Prevention is always better than cure, and regular checkups are a major part of prevention.

Even as teens may be difficult to get through to, a major part of parenting is finding ways around this. Inculcating good habits in them is not impossible, especially when it comes to good hygiene. Encourage your child to take good dental decisions, and they will be able to become healthier, happier adults.

Preventative Sealants

Dental sealants are a type of special plastic coating that act as a barrier, protecting cavity-prone areas. They are usually applied to the chewing surfaces of back teeth and are sometimes used to cover deep pits and grooves in other teeth. Sealing a tooth is fast and easy. As long as the sealant remains intact, the tooth surface will be protected from decay. Sealants hold up well under the force of normal chewing but sometimes a reapplication is needed. Talk to your Dr. Johns about sealants. Remember: Just because you have sealants doesn’t mean you don’t have to brush and clean between your teeth every day. Sealants are added protection against decay!


If you play a sport or are active in things like skateboarding or snowboarding, it’s a good idea to wear a mouthguard. It may feel funny at first, but mouthguards are the best thing you can do to protect your teeth from getting broken or knocked out. They cushion blows that would otherwise cause injuries to the lips and face and sometimes even jaw fractures. There are different kinds of mouthguards; ask your dentist which one is right for you.

Eliminate Excuses

Don’t let a lack of supplies be an excuse! Keep the bathroom stocked with dental floss, toothbrushes, toothpaste, and other oral health items so your teens can access them easily. Do what you can to teach your children good time management skills so they won’t ‘run out of time’ before school and not brush their teeth. Make a list of tasks they need to do to get ready for school and have them check it off as they go. Include things like making their bed, brushing their teeth, putting on deodorant, and similar good hygiene habits to help them establish a healthy routine of their own.

Get the Gadgets

Teens love the newest high tech gadgets, and the dental industry has obliged. Encourage your teens to manage their own oral health by using vibrating toothbrushes and other high-tech gadgets. These items make teeth brushing a fun activity and it can even help to get them engaged in their own health by showing their progress via apps and a bluetooth device.

Talk about the consequences

There are serious consequences to not having a good oral care routine. Tooth loss, tooth enamel issues, cavities, dingy teeth, gingivitis, and more can all happen if you’re not taking proper care of your teeth. A lifetime of not taking care of your teeth will result in severe tooth loss in old age. Explain these issues to your teens and make sure they know the consequences. If you struggle in this area, have your teen come by and talk to us. We have a full range of resources that can steer them in the right direction.We’d love to be the source for all things oral health for your entire family. Johns Family Dentistry will introduce you to an effective system to keep your teeth healthy, especially for kids and teens who are more prone to oral health issues because of what they eat and how they manage their oral hygiene. We can schedule regular cleaning and check-ups, but if we see more issues, we can discuss a plan on how to best deal with them. Schedule an appointment by contacting us here or give us a call at 253-848-3723.