Does it feel like a daily struggle to get your teenager to brush their teeth? If so, you’re not alone: only 64 percent of kids aged 12–17 brush their teeth twice a day. The teenage years are a crucial time for oral hygiene and development. If good oral hygiene habits aren’t established early on, your teenager could be setting themselves up for oral health complications later in life, such as gum disease, cavities, discoloration, and even tooth loss.
Parents often have to pick and choose their battles once their kids become teenagers. The threat of visiting the dentist may cause them to bristle and fight back even more and could even subconsciously instill an unhealthy fear of sitting in the dentist’s chair. Luckily, parents do have some great options to make brushing and flossing feel like a fun, interactive, and engaging process – even for the most rebellious of teens!
Talk about the consequences
Once your child becomes a teenager, they get a much more nuanced view of the world around them. They might not have the ability to think long-term yet, but they certainly understand short-term consequences (and how that may affect the way they interact with their peers). Talk about why brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash can help stave off bacteria that causes bad breath, prevent yellow staining, and keep lingering food particles out of their teeth.
Let them pick out their own toothpaste and toothbrush
If there’s one thing that teenagers want, it’s the ability to choose what they do, when they do it. They can’t make every decision on their own yet – but they can choose their toothpaste and toothbrush in their favorite flavors, scents, colors, or even television characters.
Giving the power of choice goes a long way: not only does it empower them to really “own” their tooth brushing routine, but it also makes them feel as though they can start making their own decisions. Chances are that they’ll be much more inclined to use their toothbrush, toothpaste, and mouthwash each day if they have the opportunity to choose what they like.
Have them download an oral hygiene app
Is your teen constantly staring at their phone? Have them download an oral hygiene app to make regular brushing a part of their daily routine! There are plenty of oral hygiene apps designed to establish good brushing habits into a fun, interactive, and teen-friendly experience.
Brushout features an interactive, two-minute brush timer to ensure that teeth are thoroughly brushed. It also has a calendar that keeps track of progress and awards achievement badges to encourage consistent brushing habits. Have them sign up for daily brushing reminders to ensure that they don’t fall off track!
Brush DJ was designed specifically for teenagers, featuring short animated videos and the ability to customize their display based on their favorite colors. The app plays two minutes of a song from a device, cloud, or streaming service to make brushing less tedious and much more fun. Plus, your teen can set reminders for swapping out their toothbrush after three months, brushing and flossing twice a day, using a mouthwash, and even when their next dentist appointment is scheduled.
If all else fails, don’t forget the power of creating a positive relationship with your child’s dentist. Bring them in for regular checkups and cleanings to reinforce the importance of good oral health and at-home oral hygiene. Schedule their next appointment today with TruBlu Dentistry – we’ll help them establish healthy habits that will last far beyond their teenage years!