5 Ways To Help Keep Your Teenager's Teeth Healthy
By Rebeka Eagar
The teenage years are tough for not only the teen, but everyone around them. Everything seems to be a struggle, including their diligence in keeping up their oral health. As a parent, you only want the best for your child. You want them to be happy and self-confident. But a non-white smile is a quick way for your teen to lose their confidence in themselves. That perfect smile hinges around good brushing habits. A habit that teens, generally, do not keep up.
First of all, remember that most teenagers struggle with keeping up their dental health. You are not the only parent encouraging good dental health; yet, your teen stubbornly resists.
Second, remember that there are dental products and ideas that can help. Easing your struggle as a parent is one of Epic Dental’s goals. Here are five ideas to do just that.
1. Keep Healthy Snacks And Water Easily Accessible
Teenagers are notorious for their terrible eating habits. All they seem to eat is pizza, chips, soda, candy, and everything else that falls into the top section of the food pyramid. The only reason they are still alive is mainly due to the meals that you provide.
Not only is a teenager’s diet bad for the bodies, but it is terrible for your teeth. There is bacteria in everyone’s mouth that feeds off sugar. This bacteria is what causes cavities. A good diet helps improve all aspects of physical health.
With this idea, we suggest that you add one more thing to you to do list. But don’t stress out. This is something that will take very little of your time. Just keep some cut vegetables, crackers, hummus, water, and other healthy snacks available. Leave them out where they are easily accessible. This will keep your teenager from going straight to the pantry for some bags of chips. If they avoid the healthy treats, just get rid of the unhealthy foods.
Great! Now you have control over what they eat at home, but what about at school? Well, that can be solved with Epic Dental’s Xylitol gum. This gum has a healthy sugar, Xylitol, that does not cause cavities. Xylitol actually starves cavity causing bacteria. Even though your teenager may still eat chips at school, as least with the gum you can know that they are eating something that will help their teeth.
2. Personalize Your Teenagers Dental Care
Part of the problem with teenagers is that they are busy, which means that you are too. As you know, making tedious activities as fun as possible often makes them tolerable. Help your teen to learn this by making brushing their teen fun. This section might be more applicable to younger children or tweens.
One thing that all teens seem to love is music. Often the louder the better, right. But how many teenagers listen to music while they brush their teeth? Teach your teen that they need to brush their teeth for at least 2 minutes. Suggest that they use a favorite song to time how long they brush. Songs are generally around 3 minutes long, so they will definitely be brushing for a sufficient amount of time. As they brush their teeth, let them dance, or hum, or even sing. Ok, so we know that they would not actually dance, hum, or sing while they brush. Basically, the idea is that implementing something they like into the boring routine of brushing their teeth will help them start to like the activity more.
If your teen does not like music, find a way to combine their interests with brushing their teeth. If they have something they like associated with brushing, they are more likely to brush regularly on their own. Eventually. This will definitely be a slow process. Someday, they might give up some of their precious sleep to brush in the morning. With teens you never know. They can surprise you.
3. Play To Their Vanity
Teens are vain. Even if they appear not to care about how they look, they do. Here are a few ideas to get their vanity going.
Start with the hard stuff. Sit down with your teen and make sure that they know if they don’t brush their teeth they will get yellow teeth, red gums, and bad breath. Do not mention cavities and other down-the-road effects of not brushing. As you know very well, teenagers think they are immortal. The down-the-road affects will mean nothing to them. However, yellowing teeth and bad breath are quick results that they will care about.
Of course, your teen will probably inform you that you don’t know anything. You know that isn’t true and we know that isn’t true. We wouldn’t be writing this post if we thought you didn’t know anything.
Next, comes suggestions. These suggestions are based around the goal to get the idea that yellowing teeth is not good into your teenager’s head. This is where you get to be smart and creative. Say one night you are looking at family photographs. One of your old school photos might happen to come up. In sharing a little bit about that school year, or whatever you want to say, you could fit in a little something about how you wish your teeth had looked better. Just don’t make the comment too obvious. If your teeth were pearly white back in school, good job. You did better than the rest of us. Now you are on your own to come up with another way to casually put the idea of good oral health into your teens mind.
There really are lots of ways to nonchalantly integrate good oral health into your teenager’s mind. (We wouldn’t really leave you on your own). Some of the more obvious is putting a box of whitening strips on their bathroom counter. Or you could just use them yourselves. When your teen sees that they work for you they will most likely want to try the whitening strips. Of course, they will rarely tell you that. You could also try Epic Dental Xylitol toothpaste. This product does the same thing as the gum. It uses the natural sugar to essentially starve the cavity causing bacteria out of your teens mouth. With the Xylitol toothpaste, even if your teen uses it once a week, you will know that they are using a product that will protect their teeth. You know your child, so follow your gut on how to best help them and play to the vanity. Just remember that this strategy will work best if you are not invasive.
4. Reward Them
This one should be easy to figure out. Your teen wants freedom. So give them freedom...when they earn it. For example, if your teen does not have his or her own car, you might decide a good reward system will be if your teenager brushes their teeth twice a day Sunday through Friday, then they can take the car out Saturday evening. Whatever reward system you choose make sure that you and your teen sit down together to discuss what would be best.
5. Praise Their Efforts
This is probably the most important of all five ideas. Your teenager needs to hear that you care about them. Keeping up good oral habits might seem like an odd thing to praise them on; however, your praise is important. Just like in a sports game or piano recital, you need to openly compliment their good habits. Openly could just simply mean telling them as you drive somewhere that you like how your teenager’s teeth look. They may be embarrassed or shrug off your praise, but they will remember. All children love being recognized by their parents. Do not underestimate your power as a parent.
Again, you know your child better than we do. You may try all of these suggestions, none of them, or combine them in the way that best fits your teenager. Remember, Epic Dental is here to help you, so please go ahead and try our products. They are made to protect your teeth and make you and your family happy. Who can’t be happy with a brilliant, bright smile?
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