Oral Care Tips For Teens & Kids

As a parent, you want your kids and teens to maintain healthy habits throughout their lives. Helping them learn and practice good oral care is a great way to start them on the journey. Gainesville orthodontist Dr. Mullally and the staff at Studio32 Orthodontics offer these easy-to-follow tips.

Set The Example For Them

Kids and teens form many habits through observation and following the example of people they respect. Make sure you brush and floss every day and let the kids see what you’re doing. Explain how oral care helps your overall health, and talk about the consequences of not practicing good oral hygiene, such as bad breath and gum disease.

Shake Up The Routine

One of the best ways to instill good oral care habits in your kids and teens is to shake up the routine. Brushing and flossing every day shouldn’t feel like a chore to them. Play their favorite song or a short video while they brush and floss. Most songs are around three minutes in length, which makes them perfect for two minutes of brushing and a minute of flossing, the recommended length of time for each.

Let Them Chew Gum

Many teens enjoy chewing gum, which helps their mouth produce more saliva, a natural cavity fighter that helps wash away food particles and bacteria. Don’t discourage them from chewing gum occasionally in places where it is allowed, but advocate for the sugar-free kind.

Discourage Chewing Ice

Chewing on ice may seem harmless, but it’s putting your child’s teeth at risk. If the ice is hard enough, and some larger ice cubes are, a tooth may crack or break. Moreover, if it becomes a habit, chewing ice can wear out tooth enamel and increase teeth sensitivity to hot and cold drinks and food.

Use A Mouthguard During Sports & Activities

Many kids and teens take part in sports and activities involving contact. In case of an accident, using a mouthguard can protect the teeth and mouth from injuries, such as chipped or broken teeth. While a mouthguard is only mandatory in sports where the risk of injury is high, such as football and hockey, it’s recommended for any activity or sport in which impact is likely.

Encourage A Varied & Healthy Diet

Junk food and sodas are known as staples in the diets of many teens, but they don’t have to be. Encouraging them to add variety to their diet will not only help their oral health but health in general. According to the American Dental Association, these foods and drinks are great for teeth:

  • Water: Most public water supplies in the United States have fluoride added, which helps fight cavities and prevent other dental problems.
  • Dairy products: Milk, cheese and yogurt are full of calcium and protein that help strengthen teeth.
  • Lean proteins: Meat, poultry, fish and eggs are excellent sources of protein and contain phosphorus, which helps strengthen teeth.
  • Fruits & vegetables: Many fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins needed for overall health. They also contain a lot of water, which helps clean your teeth and mouth. Nonetheless, keep in mind citrus fruits are high in acid, which could damage tooth enamel over time.
  • Nuts: Full of protein and minerals good for overall health, chewing nuts stimulates saliva production that helps wash away cavity-causing bacteria.

Visit Your Gainesville Orthodontist Regularly

Regularly taking your children to see an orthodontist in Gainesville, FL, at Studio32 Orthodontics is a great way to reinforce the oral care tips you’re teaching at home. Dr. Mullally and her staff work with each patient to create a custom treatment plan and are always available to answer questions and concerns that may arise. Whether your child needs braces for the first time or your teen is considering Invisalign in Gainesville, contact Studio32 Orthodontics to schedule a consultation today!