6 Discussions You Should Have With Preteens About Dental Health

6 Discussions You Should Have With Preteens About Dental Health
Posted on 01/23/2020

Jan-Blog-Image.  Preteen girl smiling hold a toothbrushWhen your elementary school kids get to be around 11 and 12, you may be surprised at how much they are like teenagers. Some kids suddenly feel very mature as they near their teens, while other return to childish ways because they're afraid of growing up. No matter what phase your preteen is in, consider having these essential discussions with them about their dental care.

1. Ask Preteens About Their Perceptions of Dental Care

Before you can really engage your preteen in in-depth discussions about oral health and dental care habits, you need to meet them where they are. Ask your preteen some simple questions about how they perceive dentistry, their own personal dental care, and the dental care habits they perform daily. Some possible questions to ask include:

  • What do you think are the worst things that can happen if you don't brush your teeth?
  • How does brushing your teeth two times every day make you feel?
  • Why do you think you have to floss every day?
  • Do you think that your dental health is within your control?
  • If you were an adult, would you change how you care for your teeth?

Once you get an idea of how your preteen feels about their dental care responsibilities, it's easier to talk to them about this complex topic. Openly ask follow-up questions as needed and encourage them to ask you anything that's on their minds about dental care, too.

2. Talk About All the Negative Consequences of Dental Neglect

Children are often shielded from the scariest consequences of dental neglect. Since parents set the rules and ensure that they maintain good dental care habits, younger kids don't really need to know all the dangers of neglecting their teeth and gums. However, as kids near their teen years, they need to learn about the potential problems that can occur if they skip brushing their teeth.

Let your preteen know that most dental dangers can be prevented by properly brushing their teeth, flossing, swishing with mouthwash, and regularly seeing their dentist. Then discuss the sad reality that many people face who have advanced gum disease and major loss of their teeth. Talk about how gum disease and poor oral care habits can have an impact on overall health.

Rather than scare kids with this discussion, you can teach them about the important role that proper dental care habits can play in protecting them throughout their lives. Early education and preventative care can work wonders in protecting your kids' dental health.

3. Establish a New Set of Rules for Preteens

Talk to your preteen about why you have always had daily dental care rules in your house. Tell them how important their dental health and overall health is to you. Also, work with your preteen to establish an updated set of rules for their dental care if you feel they are responsible enough to handle more freedom and independence. You may also offer them new, more grown-up rewards.

4. Talk About the Importance of Healthy Dietary Choices

Discuss the correlation between diet and dental health with your preteen. You may explain why you have placed limits of sugary drinks and hard candy. Talk to your kids about reading labels and choosing foods with lower sugar content and why that’s important for their dental health. Discuss how to make healthier choices when they’re faced with limited options at school or during a field trip.

5. Discuss the Possibility of Braces

If your preteen's dentist has brought up braces, you should discuss the topic of braces with your child. If they've watched classic television shows, they may be terrified of getting braces because of the older, clunky braces that some kids had to wear only decades ago.

Braces have come a long way, and they are designed to be as easy on kids as possible now. If your preteen doesn't need braces, this is still a topic you should discuss with them. Many of their peers will get braces, and you should talk to your preteen about showing sensitivity to kids who wear them.

6. Encourage Preteens to Set Goals for Themselves Ultimately, your preteen will enter the adolescent stage of life, and they will need to make their own choices about dental care habits. They need to be motivated by a desire to take care of themselves. Encourage them to set specific daily, weekly, and monthly dental care goals that they can follow. You can encourage them to track their goals with a journal or other method.

Finally, contact Dentistry for Children & Adolescents to set an appointment for your preteen today. Our caring team puts a great deal of effort into creating a welcoming, happy environment for kids, preteens, and teenagers. Your preteen is encouraged to ask their dentist questions and fully engage with their dental health care.


Dentistry for Children & Adolescents

  • Edina Office - 7373 France Ave. S., Suite 402, Edina, MN 55435 Phone: 952-831-4400
  • Burnsville Office - 14050 Nicollet Ave., Suite 100, Burnsville, MN 55337 Phone: 952-435-4102
  • Eden Prairie Office - 6385 Old Shady Oak Road, Suite 150, Eden Prairie , MN 55344 Phone: 952-932-0920

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