When you’re building your benefits package, are you thinking about teenagers? You may not have benefits-eligible teenage employees, but it’s likely your benefits package will be covering teenagers as dependents. Here are some common dental concerns that teenagers face and how you can develop a better benefits package to help your employees’ children.

1. Cavities

With teens’ love of snacking and their inconsistent brushing habits, it should be no surprise that dental decay is the most common chronic disease in young people. There are some easy ways to stop cavities before they start. Sealants are thin coatings painted on the chewing surfaces of teeth that can prevent cavities for years, which means that sealants applied during childhood can help during the teen years.

2. Misaligned teeth

Permanent teeth replace baby teeth in older children, and the jawbones can continue to grow until the end of puberty. A misalignment of the teeth and jaws may get better ― or worse ― by the time the jawbones have stopped growing.

Without coverage, prospective orthodontic patients can expect to pay between $3,000 and $6,000 depending on their age. Delta Dental plans can help cut these costs in half. Orthodontic coverage is available under all DeltaCare USA group plans and can be optionally included in any Delta Dental PPO plan.

3. Impacted wisdom teeth

Wisdom teeth are the last teeth to develop and erupt into the mouth, usually in the late teens. Since the jaw is still growing, wisdom teeth are sometimes impacted, meaning they don’t have enough room to emerge or develop normally. Almost 5 million people get wisdom teeth removed every year in the United States.

Wisdom teeth extraction can be expensive. Consider having your plan cover a higher percentage of the cost of wisdom teeth extractions. If that’s not viable for your plan, a lower deductible can help families as well by letting them pay less out of pocket before they reach their deductible.

4. Eating disorders

About 9% of Americans will develop an eating disorder at some point in their life, often in their teenage years. Eating disorders are life-threatening conditions that can have serious consequences for oral health and overall health. They can cause nutritional deficiencies that effect the mouth, as well as sensitive teeth, frequent cavities and dry mouth as a result of purging.

Dentists can be a great ally in the fight against the effects of eating disorders like bulimia (PDF) by identifying signs of the disorder, like eroded enamel and damaged gums, and offering sealants and fluoride treatments. These treatments can help reduce the damage that stomach acid causes when someone vomits. Most plans cover sealants and fluoride treatments until patients turn 15. If you’re also handling your clients’ health care package, you may also consider covering mental health treatment that can help to treat the illness altogether.

What else can you do to support teens’ dental health?

While these problems aren’t unique to adolescents, it’s still a good idea to have these in mind when considering your company’s dental benefits. If you’re in a position to do so, consider sharing information that highlights plan features like teledentistry, which could be helpful for busy teens and their parents. You could also explore Delta Dental’s wellness resources and share a selection of helpful articles and flyers in an email or on an internal site.

Remember to be consistent! When communicating helpful information to your employees, using multiple channels can be confusing and difficult to keep track of. Find a simple routine for sharing, like posting information on an internal webpage with monthly or quarterly email notifications, so that your employees always know where to look.