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Starting Kids Young on Their Path to Good Orthodontic and Dental Health

giving tweens freedom

I am anInvisalign Teen® brand spokesperson and all opinions expressed are my own.

One of my jobs as a mom is teaching my kids to be independent. Though I love feeling appreciated and needed, I want them to thrive as independent adults.

Middle school has been the proving ground. This year my daughter entered 5th grade and with that shift came a huge amount of responsibility. She makes her own lunch, gets her sports equipment ready and organizes all her own homework.

tweens enjoying treats

It’s also been a huge year for taking responsibility for her health. Since she’s so sporty, that means taking her fitness seriously. There’s stretching and also eating to fuel her body. She's figuring out that all the “fun” food that kids love have consequences. They can be loaded with sugar. We’ve been teaching her that her choices matter. That's where dental health comes in. Dental health can have a HUGE impact on tweens esteem and overall health.

Before I jump into more about her smile, I'd like to talk more about making tweens feel good in their skin. There are ways you can empower your tween to make healthy choices:

1. Have them shop for their own personal care items including deodorant, mouthwash and face soap.
2. Allow them to make choices at the grocery store for snacks and lunches.
3. Get input on bedtimes and wake-up times and allow them to stay up later than siblings. {Web MD says they need 10-11 hours a day, but they can pick when they go to bed and when they wake up as long as they are getting the required amount}. I’ve got an early bird. She likes to go to bed early and get organized in the morning.

These are all small ways I’m helping my tween take care of herself. I want her to have a strong sense of self esteem. Though these things are negotiable, some things are not--like good dental health. I make these expectations clear.

One of the big things I’ve taught her about dental care is this--one of the first things people notice about you, is your smile. Most people won't remember the color of your eyes or what your lip gloss looked like, but they will remember your smile.

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The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry has done studies to show that smiles matter. According to studies, 48% of us think a smile is the most memorable feature when we meet someone new. Smiles matter more than words or actions--even when you're a tween. While I wish the world could see all my daughter's wonderful traits right away, what really matters is her smile.

I want here to know adults and tweens can get cavities. I want her to learn the correlation between food choices and cavities. She needs to know that when you consume sugary foods she's at a risk of getting gum disease and tooth decay.

healthy smiles for tweens

While we are giving her freedom, we are also leading the way. Here are our five rules for good dental health (non-negotiable)
1. Brush teeth 2x day with fluoride toothpaste for two minutes
2. Floss daily
3. Avoid sugary snacks
4. Don’t smoke or use tobacco products
5. Visit our family dentist 2x a year.

Here's a bonus tip: Maybe it’s time your tween moved out of the pediatric dental office too. Our new dentist is a “grown-up” dentist--there’s not a bunny or teddy bear to be seen in her office. This demonstrated to my daughter that she’s growing up and that I think she's ready to be a participant in her healthcare.

In the next few months we’re going to visit an orthodontist for the first time. This is part of the process of growing up. Picking the right one is a BIG deal. Not all orthodontists specialize in treating teenagers. We’re particularly keen to research Invisalign Teen® clear aligners, which is a teeth straightening treatment that discreetly straightens teeth from minor to complex cases while providing the confidence of a great smile from the first day of treatment.

So we’re heading to to find our doctor. Head to the site and select "find a doctor" to locate an experienced Invisalign Teen® doctor in your area. Just enter your zip code and you’ll see a wide selection like this:

invisalign brooklyn

Thoughtfulness, planning and research. This is what I’m teaching my daughter. By showing her how to care for her own health, I’m helping to prep her for adulthood.

Follow along with our journey to learn about Invisalign Teen® clear aligners as a mom spokesperson. Let me know if you have questions! We hope this post will inspire you.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post.

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