There’s a lot going on during the teenage years. The period between child and adult comes with plenty of changes, some of them in quick succession. It would be easy for your teen to put proper dental hygiene at the bottom of the list of things to do. Your job as a parent is to make sure that doesn’t happen. Here are some tips on how to encourage positive oral hygiene habits that stay with your child long after the teen years are over.
Set a Good Example
You can talk until you are blue in the face, but your actions will tell your teen quite a bit about what matters. When it comes to taking care of the teeth, back up your admonitions to brush after meals by doing just that. If you encourage the use of floss daily, make sure you do that too. Even warning your teen about the dangers of chewing ice will carry more weight if you aren’t caught crunching away after finishing a cold drink. The bottom line is if you want your child to take you seriously, make sure you are already doing whatever your are telling them to do.
Involve Your Teen in Selecting Toothpaste and Floss
Do you currently decide what brand of toothpaste or floss is used in the household? That was fine when the kids were smaller, but things have changed. Now is an excellent time to involve the teens in making some decisions about what products to buy. That includes selecting toothpaste, floss, and even new toothbrushes.
When the kids are part of the process of selecting dental hygiene products, there is a certain amount of investment on their part. They look at what is in the medicine cabinet and on some level know they had a say in the selection. Since they happen to like the taste of the toothpaste and don’t mind using the cinnamon flavored floss that you bought on their recommendations, it’s easier to get into the habit of brushing and flossing regularly.
Develop the Habit of Seeing a Dentist Regularly
Dental health habits that are developed now will stay with your child for many years. Involve your teen in the process of setting appointments for annual exams and at least one cleaning each year. Remember to arrange this type of dental care in Barrie for yourself too. Reinforcing the need to see a dentist at least twice a year keeps the teeth in better shape and reduces the chances of some major problem developing.
Less Junk and More Fruit
Junk food is usually full of things that could damage the teeth. They are also not great for general health. You would do well to decide that junk food is not welcome in the home. Keep plenty of fresh fruit around instead. Your teen will get into the habit of grabbing an apple instead of a handful of cookies for a quick snack. Save the junk food for special occasions and always encourage brushing immediately afterward.
There are plenty of other ways to help your teen develop excellent oral hygiene habits. Many family dentists provide a number of suggestions that parents find helpful for their teens and even for themselves. Talk with your dentist today and come up with a few ideas. By implementing them gradually, you will help your teen take on more responsibility for his or her dental health.