It’s never too early to start looking after your teeth. By adopting good habits when we are very young we make our life so much easier later, since we avoid many common dental problems. That’s why it’s important to know exactly what kind of preventive measures need to be taken. Particularly significant is the period when children transition into their teenage years, because teens often attempt to avoid preventive care and don’t really care too much about maintaining good daily oral hygiene. So, what are the reasons teens have dental issues? Let’s take a look at the most typical ones.
Tooth decay, aka caries, is the most common problem often caused by poor dietary habits and lack of regular activities needed to keep the teeth healthy. Refined carbohydrates found in snacks and acids found in popular beverages contribute to plaque, which leads to tooth decay. The rate of tooth decay is highest among teens, even though the rate has declined over the years. By choosing their food more carefully, using a good toothbrush, fluoride-containing toothpaste and dental floss after meals, teenagers can really reduce the risk of developing tooth decay.
Teens are also particularly prone to gingivitis and one of the possible reasons, according to recent studies, is the increase in sex hormones during puberty. Also, the body responds to bacterial plaque surrounding the teeth with an inflammation. The gums become red, inflamed or even bloody when irritated. The good news is that gingivitis can be reversed with proper brushing, flossing and use of an antimicrobial mouth rinse.
Even if there are no obvious symptoms of any dental issues, teens generally avoid regular dental check-ups. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare states that children aged 6-14 have on average 0.5 decayed, missing or filled teeth. However, those over 15 have been found to have 4.5 problematic teeth. So, finding a reliable and experienced expert, such as this dentist in Bondi Junction, is vital to maintaining good oral health.
Teens are also known to like having various parts of their body pierced, including the tongue, lips, cheeks and uvula. There are many health problems related to oral jewellery, such as swallowed or aspirated jewellery, speech impairment, fractured teeth and gingival recession. Only dental professionals can provide guidance about the related hazards and potential complications of oral piercing to help teens make safe choices.
We know how obsessed most teens are when it comes to their appearance. As a result, they often resort to various tooth-whitening and stain-removal products, without knowing the potential side-effects. Namely, whitening products include bleaching agents (gels or whitening strips), which can have some negative effects on the teeth. Only dentists can recommend a method of bleaching or whitening the teeth that will not cause damage.
Unfortunately, many teenagers suffer from some form of eating disorder. While such issues have many negative effects on various organs, we have to mention that they can damage the teeth and mouth. They can affect the way the teeth fit together and cause dry mouth, dental erosion and bruising of the palate. Dentists can’t treat the causes of eating disorders, but can only deal with the consequences.
While teens don’t like their crowded or crooked teeth because of aesthetic reasons, they are usually unaware of other problems that can occur, such as gum disease, complications with speech and chewing, tooth decay, abnormal wear of tooth enamel and jaw problems. The solution is usually braces or orthodontic appliances that can straighten the teeth. However, only a dentist or orthodontist who specializes in dental irregularities can determine the best treatment.
Teens are a sensitive category for many reasons and dental health is just one of them. However, if proper habits were adopted early on, parents will at least have one worry fewer to deal with once their children hit puberty.