Creating good dental habits when you’re young can make a significant difference later when it comes to your oral health (and overall health). For this reason, we encourage parents to teach their children dental health tips early. After all, a habit that has always been there (good or bad) is often hard to break. So, whether you are a tween or teen who wants healthy teeth or a parent trying to teach their child dental health tips, we’ve broken it down for you. Read on to learn how to keep those pearly whites looking good.
Our Top Dental Health Tips for Tweens and Teens
If you’re a tween (age ten to 13) or teen, you are at the age where it is time to learn how to care for your health. Not only that, but around this age, you will begin to have more autonomy in decisions related to your health. Though your parents are always there to help, let’s face it, you probably don’t want them in your business all the time. Learning how to care for your teeth without their assistance is essential to your overall development.
Having healthy teeth may be more important than you realize. Our teeth help us chew and digest our food. They help us to speak clearly and have effective conversations with others. And our teeth help give our face its shape. Not only that, but our teeth are the most prominent element of our smiles. Our smiles make it easier to make new friends, make us approachable and welcoming to others, and provide us with the confidence we need to succeed socially and professionally.
Our oral health is also the gateway to our overall health. This is commonly referred to as the oral-systemic connection, which means that your oral health can play a role in your overall health, and various diseases can impact your oral health. So, keeping your mouth healthy by practicing dental health tips can help your entire body.
However, to understand what your teeth need to stay healthy (which we’ll get into shortly), you should understand the three structures (the anatomy) of the tooth.
This is the center of the tooth that contains connective tissues, blood vessels, and nerves.
This part of your tooth lies beneath the enamel. When the dentin loses its protective covering (the enamel), it allows heat, cold, and acid to stimulate the nerves inside. This is what leads to tooth sensitivity.
Your enamel is the hard tissue covering the dentin in your tooth’s crown. Enamel does not contain any living cells and can’t repair itself from the damage created by tooth decay. Your dentist is needed to correct damaged enamel.
Now that you know the three main parts of the tooth, let’s get into the six dental health tips that will keep those teeth healthy and strong.
Dental Health Tip #1: Eat tooth-healthy foods.
Simply stated, you need to eat healthy foods to keep your teeth strong; some foods are better for your teeth than others. Consider these recommendations the next time you sit down for a meal or reach into that snack cupboard.
Dental Health Tip #2: Remember that calcium is critical for your enamel and bone structure.
The best sources of calcium are foods such as milk, yogurt, and cheese. But you can also get calcium from non-dairy sources, such as almonds, orange juice, fish, and leafy green vegetables. And as a tween or teenager, you need approximately 1,300 mg of calcium daily for good health.
Dental Health Tip #3: Don’t forget your vitamins.
Talk to your parents and encourage them to help you identify foods rich in vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin D, potassium, phosphorus, vitamin K, vitamin C, and vitamin A. Often, a daily vitamin can help supplement your diet to ensure you are getting the right dose of these essential nutrients.
Dental Health Tip #4: Keep that dental plaque under control.
Plaque starts to build up on your teeth when leftover food particles and saliva mix in your mouth. The best way to keep that plaque under control is to practice a good oral care routine at home.
- Brush your teeth twice daily for two minutes using a soft-bristled toothbrush. Check out this video from the American Dental Association (ADA) for tips on how to brush properly.
- If you need motivation, consider downloading a toothbrushing app such as Mimizaur, Brush DJ, or Pokemon Smile.
- Floss your teeth daily to help loosen food particles stuck between your teeth. Check out this video if you need help with the best flossing techniques.
- Clean your tongue using a tongue scraper or by brushing over it with your toothbrush. Scraping your tongue helps remove the harmful bacteria that cause inflammation in your gums, and it can also help prevent cavities.
Dental Health Tip #5: Give special attention to your braces.
If you have braces, give them extra love and attention. Check out our article on how to take care of your teeth while wearing braces. Use an ADA-approved toothpaste, toothbrush, and mouthwash. Ask your dentist to show you the best technique to brush your teeth around your braces. Use an oral irrigator to help remove food particles from between your teeth and braces.
Dental Health Tip #6: Visit your dentist every six months.
Though all of these dental health tips are imperative for a happy and healthy mouth, perhaps the most critical is that you visit your dentist every six months. Remember that your dentist is your partner in helping you achieve a great smile. So don’t be afraid to talk to your dentist too. For example, let your dentist know if you have a habit of breathing through your mouth or if you tend to grind or clench your teeth. Mouth-breathing can cause dry mouth, and if you grind and clench, it can wear away your dental enamel—both of these habits are bad for your teeth.
Is it time for your dentist appointment?
All in all, paying attention to your oral hygiene will help your smile look its best. So, if it is time for your next dentist’s appointment, be sure to contact us to get on our calendar. We have dentist offices in Waldorf and Prince Frederick, MD, making it convenient to get to us when your teeth need a cleaning. We can’t wait to see you and discuss more dental health tips for your best smile.