A teenager’s life is a busy one. Between school, sports, and social activities, they never seem to be at home! In spite of the often hectic pace, keeping up with an oral hygiene routine and avoiding damaging diet habits can go a long way toward maintaining the health and appearance of their smiles.
Here are a few tips you can share with your teen to help them keep smiling for years to come:
Brush after as many meals as possible.
Teenagers often supplement their diets with “nutrition” bars or fast food. These additions may curb hunger and keep kids on the go feeling satisfied, but, according to the Academy of General Dentistry, “today’s fast-paced lifestyle threatens to leave the teen generation with permanent damage to oral and overall health” They suggest carrying travel-size brushes or storing one in the locker at school.
Snack on smile friendly foods.
Try portable snacks like string cheese, yogurt, nuts, and crunchy fruits and vegetables. These foods are not only good for your body, they can help fend off plaque, periodontal disease, and gingivitis. Avoid sticky snacks like raisins or gummies.
Use Xylitol gum or mints after meals or snacks to help cleanse your mouth.
Xylitol has been found to have an antibacterial effect, and research has shown it to particularly target the bacteria that cause dental caries, or tooth decay.
Limit soda consumption.
While soda tastes good and can seem to offer an energy boost, soda can also have terrible effects on your teeth. In addition to the sugar that sodas contain, they are often highly acidic and can be just as damaging to teeth as battery acid! Try replacing soda with water if you are thirsty and green tea for an energy lift. If you must drink soda, drink it through a straw to limit tooth contact and rinse with water afterwards.
Drink water throughout the day.
Water will not only quench your thirst, it helps clean your teeth of excess bacteria and food debris.
If you have any questions or concerns about your teen’s oral health, or if your teenager is due for a checkup and cleaning, please call Dr. Alex or Sophia Masters at our Clinton Township dental office for more information or to schedule a visit.