During your teen years, the responsibility for your teeth and dental care begins to slowly shift from your parents to you. So that you can take great care of your teeth and keep them healthy for as long as possible, there are several things you should know. Here are five tips teens who want healthy mouths should keep in mind:

1. Use mouthguards for sporting activities

If you play sports, your opponents are likely getting larger and more competitive as you go through your teen years. This can create risks to your teeth. Protect them by wearing a mouth guard. This measure becomes essential the older you get and the more competitive your sports get.

2. Be aware of the link between mental health issues and dental issues

Mental health issues including depression and anxiety can lead to dental issues. Things such as brushing and flossing become more challenging when you are struggling with mental health issues, and unfortunately, many teens struggle with mental health issues.

In some cases, even the medication you take to treat these ailments can increase your risk of cavities. If you are suffering from anxiety or depression, be sure to talk with your mental health care provider, your parents, your doctor and your dentist about the risks and issues which may affect you.

3. Eat cheese along with sugary snacks

As you become a teen, you likely get to make more decisions about what you eat. Rather than facing the restrictions commonly faced by younger kids, you probably get to dive into all of the sugary sweets and processed foods you want.

Ideally, to protect your teeth, you should ditch these unhealthy snacks for crunchy vegetables. However, if that is not a realistic option, follow your unhealthy snacks with a cheese platter. The calcium in the cheese helps to make your teeth stronger, and it also reduces the acids in your mouth that can cause cavities.

4. Pierce your mouth cautiously

If you are considering delving into the world of piercings, tread carefully. While they may look appealing to many people, oral piercings can cause a myriad of oral problems. Some piercings may make it hard for the dentist to take x-rays of your mouth. Other piercings may allow bacteria to build up around them, and that can make your mouth less healthy and more prone to cavities.

5. Remember routine dental appointments

Finally, do not get so lost in your busy schedule of teen activities that you forget about routine dental care. Attending regular dental exams and cleanings is essential if you want to keep your mouth healthy.

To learn more, contact a dentist in your area for more information and help.