If you think your teenager is dramatic, you’re probably right. Dramatic brain changes experienced during adolescence may explain increased exploration and risk-taking.
So don’t fret! It’s normal (and necessary) for teenagers to take risks. As a parent, it’s your job to help them find healthy and safe ways to take risks. You can prevent teen tooth troubles by helping them steer clear of unhealthy behaviors.
Go For It: Healthy Risks
Healthy risk-taking has a chance for failure but can also be rewarding and surprisingly safe. Teens can step out of their comfort zone through artistic activities, volunteer opportunities, and sports.
Some teenagers thrive in athletic environments. Through sports, adolescents are able to foster friendships, stay in shape, and develop leadership skills. Make sports safer for your teen by requiring the use of a mouthguard. Contact sports such as football, lacrosse, and hockey, require protection. Don’t let teens risk their smiles. Find out what sports require mouthguards.
Don’t Chance It: Unhealthy Risks
Among adolescent health risk behaviors, “regular tobacco use” comes out on top. Give your teen more reasons to stay away from cigarettes. Smoking negatively affects all parts of your mouth, including:
• Lips: Over time, smokers develop wrinkles around the lips.
• Teeth: Cigarettes stain your teeth yellow and make your breath smell.
• Gums: Smoking contributes to gum disease, often leading to tooth loss.
Does your teen need more convincing? Show them the Smoking and Dip video from our Teen Oral Health video series.
Parenting a teenager can be tricky. Try to remember that teens are meant to take risks — just make sure he or she is taking the right ones.