As boys become older, they don't always adhere to the personal hygiene instructions of their parents. They may brush and floss one day but completely skip any dental hygiene the next. The inconsistency can cause tooth decay. Plaque builds up in the mouth every time food or drink is consumed. Over time, plaque that is allowed to remain on the teeth hardens to form tartar. The porous surface of tartar harbors large numbers of bacteria that promote tooth decay. Still, there are ways to encourage your teenage son to floss and brush regularly. Here are a few:
Remind him of his next dental cleaning.
If you are taking your son to the dentist at least twice a year, he may already be accustomed to dental cleanings. Yet, if he has not been caring for his teeth regularly, the amount of tartar that has accumulated may be substantial. Remind your son of how time-consuming and uncomfortable a dental cleaning can be when tartar buildup is excessive.
Tell him about how his hygiene affects his breath.
Even small children know that their breath is unsavory when they wake in the morning or after eating spicy food. However, halitosis can be chronic.
The odor that is often associated with bad breath is caused by the release of sulfur compounds from anaerobic bacteria in the mouth. These bacteria die in the presence of oxygen, so many of them live in the crevices of the tongue. Regular brushing and tongue scraping helps expose the bacteria to oxygen and remove them from the mouth. As the bacteria that cause halitosis are eliminated, the breath improves. By advising your son of how his breath is affected by his hygienic efforts, he may take better care of his mouth. In addition, if he is already interested in dating, he will likely be conscious of his breath.
Show him pictures of tooth decay.
Take the time to show your son pictures of tooth decay. Teenagers tend to be self-conscious about their appearance, and the thought of his teeth being ruined may be enough to encourage your son to clean his mouth properly.
If you have a teenage son, you may be concerned about the effectiveness of his dental hygiene routine. After all, a teenager typically has all of his or her adult teeth, so damage can be permanent. Contact a dentist (such as one from Family Dental Care) in your area to discuss more ways to encourage your son to care for his teeth and gums.