How to Help Teens Take the Right Risks

If you think your teenager is dramatic, you’re probably right. Dramatic brain changes occur during adolescence and may explain increased exploration and risk-taking.

While there are advantages to a teen engaging in risky behavior, some of those risks can affect their oral health. Help your teen stay healthy from teeth to toes:


Sports encourage teens to take a chance at success and learn failure, in addition to teamwork and social skills. Kkeep your teenprotected with a mouthguard.


Teens develop their sense of identity in adolescence, and it’s common for teens to follow the latest trends including body modification. While tongue piercings are semi-permanent, the effects on dental health can be long-term. Show your teen the serious mouth infections and chipped teeth that tongue piercings can cause.


As your teenager becomes more independent, it becomes harder to moderate their daily diet. 23% of South Dakotan high school students drink one or more sodas per day, according to a recent survey. This shift in diet to more sugary snacks and drinks means the rate of cavities and gum disease in teens increases. Keep healthy snacks at home, and keep tabs on your teen’s dental routine.


Even though teens are aware of the risks associated with tobacco, some still choose to smoke and chew. 16% of high school students in South Dakota have smoked cigarettes and 11% have chewed tobacco in the past 30 days. Parents can deter teens from smoking. Open the lines of communication and keep them active. Talk about the negative consequences that tobacco has on their developing bodies and teeth.


Because teens are young, it’s easy for them to feel like they’ll live forever. This invincibility complex can cause precarious behaviors, as well as negligence to health. In fact, 23% of South Dakotan teens surveyed didn’t see the dentist last year.

The longer teens delay visiting the dentist, the higher risk for tooth decay or more serious dental emergencies. Last year, 21% of teens in South Dakota missed school because of dental problems.

The teenage years can be tough, but rewarding. For the sake of their health, encourage kids to take the right kind of risks.