One of the primary reasons adolescents who have a habit of staying up late experience tooth decay is that they simply do not bother to brush their teeth before bed. Often, this is because they are too tired, while in other cases they are simply preoccupied with activities such as computer games. While most parents supervise their children to some degree whilst they are awake, if children tend to remain up after you have gone to bed there is a high risk that with nobody to check in or remind them, they may quickly become slack in their oral hygiene routine. Reminding your children to brush their teeth before bed may help, but it may be in their best interests to ensure that you actually see them brushing at least most days of the week.
Although most older children are perfectly capable of taking responsibility for their own brushing routine, it is never a waste of time to raise the subject of dental hygiene at mealtimes or even on the school run. Encouraging your children to be open with you about what they are – and aren’t – doing is the best way to avoid unscheduled visits to the dentist.
Snacking is another key reason that night owls can see increased occurrences of tooth decay. Night owls tend to be late risers, and consequently have a tendency to sleep late, often missing breakfast as a result. This, combined with the fact that they are often overtired, means that they are likely to choose snacks to boost their energy. Unfortunately, these tend to be high in sugar which leads to increased acid levels in the mouth throughout the day. This in turn results in a significant increase in the risk of tooth decay occurring.
It is also worth noting that sports and energy drinks can also be extremely damaging to teeth.
Making a healthy, balanced breakfast a family event and insisting on all of your children being present can go a long way towards helping. If you are concerned about your child’s snacking, you may wish to consider providing your children with healthy, low sugar snacks if required rather than giving them a free choice.
Encouraging your children to brush after breakfast and ensuring that you buy a fluoride toothpaste will also help to promote oral hygiene at home.
When it comes to routine check-ups, adults are just as guilty as teenagers for putting it off. It is important, however, that we make sure children do not skip their routine appointments, whatever the excuse. Making sure your child’s teeth and gums stay healthy is of huge importance to help them develop into adulthood happy, healthy and confident. If your child is reluctant to go, it can be worth booking your own appointments for an adjacent slot so that you can be seen to lead by example.
Website last updated: August 2022
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