Teen with bracesKeeping teeth clean and healthy is probably the last thing a teenager thinks about during his day. But, more than 51 million hours of school time are lost each year due to dental-related problems. Here’s a look at some common dental issues teens face:

Make Decay Go Away

The best way to keep your teen’s teeth healthy and clean is to:

  1. Make regularly scheduled dental appointments for her. 
  2. Limit snacks and soda.

Snacking throughout the day can increase the chances of developing tooth decay, so avoid quick and easy snacks, as they usually have more sugar and are worse for teeth. Have some healthful snacks available instead of candy bars and soda. Fruits, vegetables, and milk products, like yogurt, are much better for teeth. In addition, encourage your teen to drink water instead of soda.


A commonly prescribed antibiotic for acne, can cause the teeth to discolor. So while your teen might be concerned about her skin, make sure she’s aware of the damage that acne medicine  can cause to her teeth.


From a teen’s perspective, having bad breath is almost as bad as wearing a bad outfit. They probably don’t realize people suffer from bad breath for different reasons. It can be caused by foods, poor oral hygiene, dry mouth, gum disease, and especially by using tobacco products. Teach your teen good oral health habits to help him avoid bad breath and embarrassment among his peers. Effective tongue cleaning is one of the best ways to prevent bad breath as most bacteria and food particles will sit on the tongue until they’ve been brushed away.


Teens aren’t particularly fond of them, but they can make a huge difference in appearance. Accidents happen, and there aren’t many people around who have completely straight teeth with just the perfect bite. Braces can help straighten teeth and align the jaw for a more natural appearance later on in life. Crooked and crowded teeth are actually harder to take care of and can sometimes lead to tooth decay, which is a totally different problem to tackle. Abnormal bites can cause bone and jaw problems. While not the most popular thing for a teen, braces are definitely the best way to fix abnormal bites and crooked teeth.

Reprinted with permission from SurfNetParents.com.