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How to Help Your Teen Brush and Floss Regularly

Brush and floss

Teenagers can be stubborn, particularly when it comes to oral hygiene. If you struggle with getting them to brush their teeth each day, you aren’t the only one. Recent surveys suggest that only 64 percent of teenagers brush their teeth twice a day. Even more shocking is that two percent don’t brush at all.

Teenagers should be setting good oral hygiene habits as early as possible. How they take care of their teeth today can determine their long-term oral health in the future. If they aren’t brushing and flossing twice a day, they could be looking at significant dental work later on. Even during their teenage years, they may be at risk for tooth discoloration, enamel erosion, cavities, and gum disease.

Of course, it isn’t always easy to get teenagers to cooperate. You may need to pick and choose your battles, but brushing and flossing certainly don’t need to become an all-out war. If you’re struggling with getting your teen on board with their oral hygiene, you’ve come to the right place. See below for some expert tips on how to encourage teenagers to take good care of their teeth.

1. Be open and honest about oral hygiene

Some real consequences come from failing to keep up with good oral hygiene, especially for kids between the ages of 12–17. Teenagers are gaining a keener awareness of the people around them, including their peers, friends, teachers, and coaches.

Talk about the consequences of not brushing and flossing openly and honestly and how they may affect how they interact with others. The last thing they want is to get stuck with bad breath at a social gathering or yellow teeth in a yearbook photo! If that doesn’t resonate with them, use pictures of what could happen to their mouths without regular brushing and flossing.

One important note is that you want to reinforce that dental visits are a good thing. A dental appointment should not be used as a threat. This could instill a life-long aversion to going to the dentist. They should view going to the dentist as a regular part of healthcare. This helps ensure that they will continue to make dental appointments when they become responsible for their oral health.

2. Let them choose their toothbrush and toothpaste

Teens are at an age where they want to make decisions independently but don’t always get the opportunity to do so. As any parent knows all too well, the frustration over not making their own decisions can become a significant source of frustration. Allow them to choose how they’ll manage their oral hygiene by picking out their toothbrush and toothpaste!

It might seem like a small gesture, but it can go a long way. Whether they realize it or not, picking out their toothbrush and toothpaste gives a sense of ownership. And with their favorite colors and flavors, they might be more inclined to follow through on daily brushing!

3. Have them download an oral hygiene app

An oral hygiene app is a great way to make daily brushing and flossing into a fun, engaging activity. It also meets them right where they tend to spend much of their time anyway: on their phone. There are plenty of free oral hygiene apps that might encourage your teen to spend more time on their teeth. Here are some of our favorite picks for teenagers:

  • Brushout. This app is a simple, no-nonsense app that tracks day-to-day progress and gives users achievement badges for consecutive days brushing, flossing, and rinsing. For teens (or even adults) who tend to forget about setting time aside, it also gives reminders to brush and floss.
  • Brush DJ. This app helps teens get into the habit of brushing for two minutes (not two seconds) twice per day. Users can choose to brush along with their favorite song, creating a two-minute soundtrack to time each brushing session. Once the music stops playing, they can set their toothbrush down.

Keeping up with good oral hygiene is as easy as brushing, flossing, and rinsing with mouthwash two times each day. Your teen should also be keeping up with regular dental visits so that any dental issues can be caught and resolved as soon as possible. Call Caputo Dental today and schedule their next appointment! We’ll help ensure that good oral hygiene keeps them healthy for years to come.

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