Most parents pay close attention to their child's dental health throughout most of their early life, but this attention can start to wane as your child gets older and can start paying closer attention to what's going on without adult supervision. But the teen years are still critically important if you want your child to make it into adulthood with a full set of healthy teeth. Here are just a few tips to keep in mind if your teen is growing up and you want to help them retain a healthy smile for the long term.

1. Bring Brushing Supplies or Water to School

When kids become teenagers, they become more likely to stay after school for one activity or another like playing sports or joining the debate team. If your teen wants to have a healthier smile or doesn't have time to brush in the morning, they have some options. Ask them to consider at least taking a travel size fluoride rinse in their backpack. If that won't work either for whatever reason, at least give your kid bottled water to take to school. They can use the water to rinse their mouths out after lunch, which is better than nothing.

2. Be Wary of Oral Piercings

The teenage years are also a time when many teens like to customize their appearance and sometimes that means getting one or more piercings on their body. While it can be hard to talk a rebel teen out of making poor decisions sometimes, you might want to insist that they stick to their ears or navel for body piercings and do not get their tongues pierced. A piercing that is left in the tongue at night might cause your teen to accidentally chip their tooth.

3. Sugar-Free Snacks Are Ideal

When they do get home, most teens want to feed their growing bodies with one snack or another. It's best for their dental health and their overall health if you can stock the pantry with some sugar-free or low sugar options. 

The teenage years are a time for change for many kids, but you don't want them to change the good dental habits they hopefully learned as a child. For best results, continue to get your teen to a local dentist's office at least twice a year or more often if they have a problem. Contact a local dentist today to schedule their next appointment