How do you motivate your teenage child

Challenge adolescents and oral health

Overall that is Oral health among young people in Germany is exemplary. The 12-year-olds take second place in the international comparison when it comes to carious, filled or missing teeth. Less than one tooth is affected. This means that caries has decreased by over 80 percent in the last 20 years. "The success is based on continuously implemented preventive measures", explains Prof. Dr. Dietmar Oesterreich, Vice President of the German Dental Association. "Nevertheless, the risk of interdental caries increases in this phase of life."

During puberty, teenagers increasingly distance themselves from their parents. You create your own freedom. Parents control dental care less or not at all. The adolescents determine their own diet to a greater extent. They often consume more sweets, chips or soft drinks. Initial contact with alcohol or cigarettes is possible. Recognition by friends and in the clique and dealing with the opposite sex are essential issues. Dental care measures that will only pay off in the distant future are therefore not very exciting for them. "Various factors influence the oral health behavior of adolescents", says Prof. Oesterreich. “Good arguments and the right approach are therefore immensely important to motivate them to take care of responsible dental care. Clarification, home care and check-up appointments at the dentist are very important here. "

Goodbye baby tooth: proper dental care

In 12-year-olds, the change of teeth is usually complete. The adolescents now have adult teeth. Your back molars, the "sevens", are there. But the total of 28 teeth of the permanent set of teeth are close together. This requires careful care of teeth, gums and especially the spaces between the teeth. Around every second young person also wears braces. Regular brushing with tools such as dental floss, interdental brushes and targeted techniques are particularly important for them. This is the only way they can clean all niches.

Stay tuned: Go to the dentist regularly

Teens are entitled to a free dental check-up and prophylaxis twice a year. With individual prophylaxis, the dentist first checks the dental status and examines the gums. He or a prophylaxis assistant educates the young patients about a healthy diet, proper oral hygiene and the causes of illness and how to avoid them. This also includes the correct oral hygiene technique and showing existing plaque on the teeth. In addition, the dentist or prophylaxis assistant fluoridates the teeth and possibly seal the rear molars. The dentist enters the appointments in the bonus booklet and thus records the regular checks. If dentures should ever be necessary, the patient can save costs.

How can young people be motivated?

Living by example is the motto for parents: Live healthy, care for teeth and pass on knowledge about oral health to the child. So they tend to accept brushing their teeth as an everyday activity in their daily routine. Dentists, too, have to be sensitive and creative with their young patients.


Tips for parents:

  • Self Role model in oral care be. Already Develop an oral care ritual in early childhood.
  • Make it clear to your child from an early age that you can achieve a lot for your teeth with little effort! And: It can prove how responsibly and "grown up" it can deal with itself or its body.
  • List aesthetic motives and obvious rather than long-term benefits: Beautiful teeth look good and prevent bad breath. This also helps with flirting and kissing.
  • If necessary, offer material incentives through a point and reward system. E.g. whoever receives confirmation of good care during the six-monthly inspection, receives a cinema voucher.
  • Explain instead of ordering: Many children have questions about their physical development but do not dare to ask them. Talk about health issues and provide information about dental care.
  • Put yourself in your child's shoes and think about what could help them: Give specific tips that fit the child's situation and refer to informative websites and materials.
  • Make clear arrangements about dental care. But be prepared for rule violations and it is best to think about the consequences in advance.

Tips for dentists

  • Establish trust: Show empathy, give praise and attention, encourage. This makes the visit to the dentist a positive experience.
  • Instead of technical jargon: Addressing young people at eye level, taking them seriously, doing without index finger pedagogy.
  • No monologues: listening, recognizing needs, answering questions, providing well-dosed information.
  • Appeal to self-responsibility: Whoever wants to be accepted in the circle of friends has to do something for it. Clarify: Brushing your teeth is very effective in spite of the short expenditure of time.
  • Convince with little things: Provide age-appropriate lifestyle magazines or give young people the opportunity to listen to music during treatment.
  • Practice creates masters: Giving tips, clearly pointing out improvements, e.g. B. through coloring tablets, involve parents in the instruction and motivation, clarify the benefits of oral health.

Source: proDente e. V.