I have safely navigated the teenage years three times. If you have had teenagers yourself, you know what I mean when I say “safely navigated”. Life with a teenager sometimes feels a lot like being a submarine captain…you really can’t see where you are going, and there are potential minefields everywhere. Teenagers of course, know everything and don’t hesitate to let you know that they are right and you, an experienced adult, are invariably wrong. Having been through this stage in my kid’s lives three times, I can assure you that eventually this, like all stages, will pass and that one day you will actually be wise again. It just takes a while.
The part that gets me though, is how often my kids as teenagers were actually right. They were children raised with the internet, and had at their fingertips the answer to almost any question they could ask. Information to them is only a keystroke away. They live in a world that changes at warp speed and they move right along with it.
The challenge always lies in convincing them that the more things change, the more things stay the same. This is true in life and it is true in Dentistry. Dentistry can advance techniques, equipment and knowledge, but basic hygiene habits still create the foundation of good dental health. Brushing at least twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste, flossing daily without fail, eating a diet low in both sugar and high acid foods are habits that if established when your child is young, will help guard against serious problems when they are older. Cosmetic dentistry, whitening and smile makeovers are all great advancements…but none of it matters if you don’t brush and floss.
Februrary is National Children’s Dental Health Month. Give your kids a hug and remind them to floss and brush. And whether your child is four, fourteen or forty-four, pat yourself on the back for surviving parenthood. You’ve earned it!