As your child enters into their teens, their mouths change dramatically. And, as they become increasingly independent, they are exposed to certain risks that could be detrimental to their oral health. To help you prepare for your teen’s oral health needs, you need to know about the top oral health concerns for teens. Here, your family dentist Chesapeake VA shares six of the most important concerns regarding teens and their oral health.
By the age of 13, your child will most likely have his or her full set of adult teeth, barring their wisdom teeth. These teeth don’t arrive until a child reaches the age of 17. In some cases, wisdom teeth don’t come down until 21 years of age, but this is rare. Still, quite often, wisdom teeth pose serious problems for teens, especially when they are impacted.
Some of the things a teen can experience when getting his or her wisdom teeth include:
- Tooth decay
- Gum disease
- Tumors and cysts
- Damage to adjacent teeth
Depending on the case, a teen may have to have his or her wisdom teeth removed, as in the case of an impaction, or braces or other dental treatments may be required.
Many people are exposed to second-hand smoke in their formative years, but it is usually in their teens when they first try smoking. Unfortunately, smoking is not only bad for one’s health, it is also very harmful to their oral health. Smoking causes a wide array of health complications that go well beyond just bad breath, a diminished sense of taste and smell, and unsightly stains on the teeth and tongue. It increases one’s odds of:
- Gum disease
- Tooth decay
- Tooth loss
- Oral cancer
Because quitting smoking is so hard once one starts, the best preventative against these problems is to never start smoking in the first place.
#3: Oral Piercings
Like smoking, piercings are often one of the ways teenagers “revolt” against their parents. And, when the area being pierced is the mouth, it can pose serious risks to one’s oral health. The reason is because the mouth is home to millions of different types of bacteria. When an open wound is made in the mouth, such as with a tongue piercing, the bacteria can cause an infection that can result in the tongue swelling to the point that it actually closes off the airway! Other serious risks include systemic infections like hepatitis or endocarditis.
Once a teen’s adult teeth are all down, if there are any issues related to the positioning of the teeth, braces are used to help straighten the teeth and improve the smile. But, braces can sometimes make it difficult for a teen to clean their teeth properly. Therefore, if your child is getting braces, talk to your family dentist in Chesapeake VA to get the assistance and advice you need to ensure your teen is practicing good oral hygiene.
#5: Eating Disorders
More than 10 million people in the U.S., many of them teens, suffer from eating disorders. And, these conditions can have a serious and negative impact on one’s oral health. For instance, those who binge eat are exposing their teeth to vast amounts of food, many of which can cause tooth decay and gum disease if proper teeth care isn’t practiced. In anorexia cases, the individual will often throw up after every meal and when they do, very strong stomach acids repeatedly flow over the teeth and this can cause a rapid decrease in the enamel. If you or someone you love has an eating disorder, it is important to see a healthcare professional immediately.
Methamphetamine, or meth, is a dangerous and highly addictive illegal drug that is rampant in the United States. And unfortunately, teens are among those most at risk of becoming addicted to it. When someone uses meth for a period of time, they develop what is known as “meth mouth.” The drug causes the teeth to turn black, rot, and crumble or fall apart. When this occurs, nothing can be done to save the teeth. They need to be removed completely. And, this isn’t the only problem meth users face. Methamphetamine also causes hyperthermia, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, shortness of breath, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, permanent brain damage, and often, death. If you or someone you love is taking methamphetamine, get help immediately. For more information, visit the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Keep Your Teen’s Oral Health Pristine – Visit Your Family Dentist Chesapeake VA
The teenage years is when most people really start understanding the importance of good personal hygiene. After all, everyone wants to have a winning smile when they’re entering dating territory. For this reason, and the concerns listed above, it is more important than ever to ensure your teen takes care of his or her teeth and that they see their family dentist Chesapeake VA on a regular basis.
RB Comprehensive Dentistry is a full service cosmetic and family dentistry office in the Chesapeake area. Schedule an appointment today at the office that’s nearest you and get your oral health back on the right track.