As teens become more independent, they’re much less likely to want to take orders from their parents. But at this critical age, slipping on dental care can cost your teen healthy teeth in the future. Plus, teens face many new challenges that can impact their oral health.
According to a study by the Massachusetts Medical School, “Teen years are a higher risk time for oral piercings, increased sugar intake, nicotine initiation, and orthodontic considerations.”
At the start of the school year, the last thing on your mind is probably dental care. You’re looking to get your kids ready with all the supplies they need. But one of the most important things to establish during this time is a healthy routine – and that includes an oral cleaning routine.
During their teenage years, kids are juggling a number of things like academic performance, peer pressure, and college preparation. For this reason, regular dental cleanings can feel like an added burden, and some teens may even refuse to go.
Keep in mind that part of the reason your teen may resist going to the dentist is stress and fear. Research has shown dental anxiety to be prevalent in all age groups and slightly higher in women. If your teen is already stressed, try helping them relax before pushing them to do anything.
Oftentimes, teens have so much going on that they don’t understand why oral health should be a priority. As a parent, explain to them why regular checkups aren’t optional. Rather than trying to force them, simply explain what will happen to their teeth if they are not cared for, and how these complications will be much more difficult and uncomfortable to handle. Often, this simple wakeup call is enough to get your teen to reluctantly agree to a dentist appointment, even if they’re not excited about it.
If your teen is headed to their dental appointment alone, make sure they have everything they need before they leave the house. This includes an insurance card or credit card, and any information they’ll need to know (e.g. If they might need x-rays, let them know up front). Be sure they have the address, know the name of the dental office, and leave with enough time to spare.
If your teen is headed off to college in the next few years, teaching them about dental health will get them in the habit of taking it seriously and showing up for appointments.
Teens can sometimes feel disempowered, like adults have all the control. By giving your teen autonomy and encouraging them to be an active participant in their health, you establish trust and help them feel confident. Let them know they can ask questions at the dentist and there’s no need to be nervous.
Looking for a new family dentist? Elkins Park Dental Innovations is here to serve your family all year round. Get in touch to learn about our services and specials.