Believe it or not, the teenage years are some of the most pivotal years for one’s oral health. Many teenagers have a higher susceptibility to dental concerns due to their unique lifestyle, habits, and stage of development. A family dentist in Webster can help teenagers understand their dental risk factors and maintain good oral health during this pivotal time.
Five Common Dental Concerns Found In The Teenage Years
Here are five of the most common dental concerns of teenagers:
#1: Cavities From Dietary Habits
Developing cavities is often directly correlated with the consumption of sugary foods and beverages. Since many teenagers indulge in more soda, candy, and sweets than the average adult, they put themselves at a higher risk of acquiring cavities. In fact, 59% of teens aged 12 to 19 in the United States have had dental cavities in their permanent teeth.6
#2: Wisdom Teeth Removal
Wisdom tooth removal surgery is a common occurrence during the teen years. This is because the wisdom teeth emerge between 17 and 25 years old, on average.2 Many teenagers opt to remove their wisdom teeth due to the risk of impaction and damage and shift to the neighboring teeth.
#3: Damage From Drug Use and Smoking
Often, individuals experiment with drugs and alcohol for the first time during their teenage and young adult years. These habits correlate with both physical and oral health issues, especially when chewing and smoking tobacco products.
Not only does smoking tobacco stain the teeth, dry out the mouth, and cause bad breath, but it also increases a teenager’s risk for oral cancers down the line. More specifically, studies show that smokers are ten times more likely to develop oral cancer than non-smokers.1
#4: Sports-Related Oral Health Injury
Playing sports, such as basketball, football, hockey, and baseball, are some of the most common pastimes during the adolescent years. Although sports are great for making friends and building teenagers’ character, they also increase their risk for sports-related oral injuries. These injuries may occur from getting hit by sports equipment, contact with other players, or trips and falls.
One study on oral trauma in adolescent athletes found that 9% of the athletes suffered from sports-related dental injuries, especially in those who weren’t wearing a protective mouthguard.3 Some of the most prevalent sports-related oral injuries include fractured or lost teeth, jaw dislocation, and soft tissue injuries of the gums and cheek.
#5: Damage From Eating Disorders
Whether it’s from low self-esteem and body image, perfectionism, or parents’ pressure, or a sport, many teenagers struggle with eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, and binge-eating disorder. In fact, eating disorders affects around 9% of the worldwide population.4
On top of their serious psychological and health consequences, eating disorders are also detrimental to teenagers’ oral health. According to the National Eating Disorder Association, some of the most common effects eating disorders have on dental health include the following:5
- Chronic dry mouth and swollen salivary glands
- Gums and soft tissue that bleed easily from lack of nutrition
- Increased risk of gum disease, canker sores, and bad breath due to nutritional deficiency
- Damages and loss of the tooth’s enamel due to repeated acid exposure from vomiting
- Degenerative arthritis in the temporomandibular joint
How To Maintain Oral Health In Teenage Years
To prevent some of these oral concerns from impacting a teen’s health and wellbeing, teens need to do everything they can to protect their oral health. A few ways for teens to protect their oral health include:
- Brushing and flossing twice daily
- Avoiding smoking, tobacco, and other drug use
- Cutting back on sweets and soda
- Always wear a mouthguard while playing contact sports
- Visiting a dentist for regular cleanings and exams
Empire Dental Care: A Family Dentist in Webster Teenagers Can Rely On
As you can see, taking care of your mouth in the teenage years is essential for building a happy and healthy smile for years to come. This starts with regular dental visits and cleanings with the experienced professionals at Empire Dental Care. We’re an experienced family dentist practice in Webster. Call us at 585.671.1650 or contact us online to start improving your oral health.