“I have a tween”
It sounds like some sort of shameful admission, spoken in hushed tones to a loved one over a gently flickering candle, in a dimly lit restaurant.
Sometimes for parents, that doesn’t seem too far from the truth. But while our “tweens” can sometimes make life a bit more “interesting” it’s also important for us to remember that the “tweenage” years are a very important time. Why? Because while it might not seem like your pre-teen is anywhere near being an adult quite yet, their adult teeth are ready, waiting, and just itching to make their appearance – and the mouth is going though a lot of changes. This makes diligent dental care incredibly important.
As a family dentist in Downey, CA, we have years of experience under our belts when it comes to helping pre-teens and teenagers alike make their (anatomical) adjustment into adulthood. However, there are just a few tips that can help make that adjustment easier….
Dental Tips for Tweens and Teens
The most important thing to remember when it comes to caring for your tween or teenager’s teeth is that they aren’t much different than an adult’s teeth.
- Maintain a healthy diet: Not only does eating a healthy diet help with childhood obesity, it also helps prevent cavities. Make sure your child eats plenty of fruits and vegetables to reap all their wonderful benefits.
- Avoid foods and drinks that add extra sweeteners: Extra sweeteners and sugar is never a great thing, especially for young-adults who are learning good dietary habits. As is the case with every food, if it’s got sugar in it – it will make it’s way back to your teeth, and the more sugar there is, the more pronounced its effects will be – from weight gain to cavities and tooth loss.
- Make sure your child drinks plenty of water: Water could be your body’s greatest asset. Many don’t realize it’s also an asset to your teeth, and can help wash away bacteria and food debris that could ultimately lead to decay and cavities.
- Brush twice daily, with fluoridated toothpaste: This is a no-brainer. Brushing at least twice daily is essential, and if your water isn’t treated with fluoride, consider adding a supplement. Fluoride has been proven to protect your child’s teeth from decay and cavities.
- Limit snacking: Did you know that snacking actively alter’s your mouth’s pH, making it riper for decay? By limiting snacking, you limit the amount of time your child’s mouth is in “prime-time” for decay, ultimately helping the prevention of cavities and the need for expensive dental work.
- Floss at least once a day: flossing – especially for teens – should never be a “once a week” or “before the dentist” tradition. By encouraging your child to floss, you actively reduce the likelihood he or she will need dental repairs in the future.
- And as always…..see your family dentist for regular checkups and cleanings: When it comes to a pre-teen or teenager’s mouth, there’s a lot of movement and growth going on. In these years, it’s even more important to make sure your child sees the dentist at least every 6 months. This ensure that you’re not stuck trying to find a dentist nearby when a seemingly minor ache or pain decides to become something a little more than “minor”.
Have questions? Ask an expert. At My Downey Family Dentist, our team of dentists are some of Downey, California’s leading experts when it comes to family dentistry, cosmetic dentistry, and more.