Keeping your preteen’s mouth healthy is one of your most important jobs as a parent. Oral health affects almost every other aspect of your child’s health, so keeping their teeth and mouth clean can help keep the rest of their body up to snuff by limiting exposure to dangerous bacteria and infections that can arise from cavities and other situations resulting from improper oral care.
Foundations of a Preteen’s Healthy Mouth
Cleaning and flossing is the first, most foundational part of a healthy and clean mouth. Preteens should use a fluoride toothpaste, which is readily available at stores. Your child should be encouraged to choose a flavor that appeals to them, as traditional mint or cinnamon may be intense and can pose a roadblock to regular brushing. Allowing your child to choose their own toothpaste, mouthwash, and floss flavors can help make them more excited about brushing every night and every morning.
There is a multitude of flavors available for toothpaste, floss, and mouthwash that can make brushing more appealing. Similarly, allowing your child to choose a toothbrush that appeals to them with appropriate bristles can motivate as well. Modeling good brushing habits is also important. Children and preteens learn more from what you do than what you tell them to do, so taking care of your own mouth will teach them the importance of brushing, flossing, and visitng a dentist regularly. Encourage your partner to do the same to maintain consistancy.
Visiting a Proffesional
Another important step in keeping your child’s mouth healthy is to take them to an expert. Pediatric dentistry is critical in your child and preteen’s life even if they are cleaning thoroughly every night. A visit to the dentist generally includes x-rays, cleanings, and an exam. These three steps are critical in determining whether your child needs further dental care, and can give you important information on your children’s teeth, such as the presence of cavities, weak enamel areas, and even missing teeth hiding under their gum line
As your child moves into their teenage years, their dentist can also keep an eye on their wisdom teeth to determine if removal will be necessary, and will determine if orthodontic treatment may benefit them. As your child moves into their teenage years, their dentist can also keep an eye on their wisdom teeth to determine if removal will be necessary, and will determine if orthodontic treatment may benefit them.
While you’re visiting your dentist, consider asking them about optional treatments such as sealants. These are hard coverings for adult molars that can help prevent cavities by limiting the nooks and crannies available for food to hide in, which can make proper brushing easier and reduce the chances of developing cavities later. Most dental providers will recommend sealants for minor children, although in some cases they may not be practical or available for various reasons.
Then onto an Orthodontist
Orthodontic work can be intimidating to parents, because of the price tag, the stress it will place on your family, and the social stigma many of us faced during our teenage years. However, orthodontics has come very far in the past decade. Visiting a good orthodontist can help your preteen have a beautiful smile and give them confidence as they get older. Orthodontists can create extra space for teeth, move teeth together to hide gaps, straighten crooked ones, and more. Some of these procedures can even eliminate the need for extractions or more serious dental work. Invisible or no-show braces are now available in many situations, and provide a neater look than traditional metal braces.
If they are not available, colored inlays can make braces more appealing to children and can make wearing them seem less difficult. Consider allowing your child to choose their own colors to express their individuality.
Determining whether orthodontic care is needed for preteens is critically important due to the growth patterns of young mouths. At this age, most or all of their adult teeth have grown in and an expert will be able to tell if there will be sufficient space in their mouth. If not, spacers or other orthodontic intervention may be needed. Braces are the most common type of orthodontics, but other methods may be necessary depending on your situation.
Its all About the Money
Before choosing a dentist for your family, make sure to check with your dental insurance to determine what is and is not covered. Ask about both preventive and restorative services, and don’t forget to check on coverage for orthodontic treatments if they are needed. Most dental insurance providers have a booklet with a quick reference guide to easily answer questions about percentages of covered services.
If you don’t have insurance, ask prospective dentists about cash discounts or potential payment plans that may be available to help with the cost of care. Knowing what financial policies are in place before choosing a dentist can help prevent misunderstandings or financial difficulties later down the line.
Contact us Today
When choosing a preteen’s dentist or orthodontist, it’s important to ask questions that are relevant to your family. If you work a specific schedule and are unable to take time off for appointments, ensure you find a dentist with office hours that will fit your schedule. Check to see if they accept your dental insurance before the first visit so there are no surprises.
Your child should feel comfortable with them, and any questions you have should be easily answered. If you feel they’re a good match for your family, remember that consistency is a key part of dental health. Make appointments with Dr. Engel every six months for cleanings, checkups, and x-rays, and teach your children that making time for their oral health is important. Consider seeking a combination dentist and orthodontist to make complete care even easier, as you will not have to visit multiple locations for similar services.
Overall, keeping your preteen’s mouth as healthy as possible by taking them to a children’s dentist is just as important as taking them to the doctor regularly. Clean teeth are beautiful and instill a sense of confidence in your child that may help them succeed in many areas of life. Every family should consider making regular dental care a part of their lives as soon as possible. Book your next dental appointment today for a brighter, cleaner future.
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400 Kinderkamack Rd.
Oradell, NJ 07649
Anxious About Your Preteen’s Teeth (Falling Out?)
Dr Engel holds a speciality license in pediatric dentistry from New Jersey and New York. He also has attained sedation certification, which allows for in-office oral sedation options, and he’s on staff at Hackensack University Medical Center. As an attending pediatric dentist at HUMC, Dr Engel retains operating room privileges, allowing for an array of treatment modalities and anaesthesia options.