Teens can experience a range of oral health issues as their mouths and bodies go through significant changes. Our SmileTown Langley dentists explore some of these issues and their causes in this post.
Oral Health Issues in Teens
As your child matures into a teen, their mouth and body is going through significant changes, which can trigger numerous potential oral health issues.
Naturally, they'll begin to become more independent, making more decisions for themselves, leading busier lives and spending more time away from you - all of which may mean oral hygiene slides down the list of priorities between school, hobbies, social events and more. At the same time, development and hormonal changes are occurring, which can contribute to a range of oral health issues we'll list today.
More estrogen and testosterone are produced by the body during the onset of puberty, which sends extra blood flowing to the gums. This may result in swelling and the gums becoming more susceptible to bleeding. When extensive swelling and bleeding occur, this is known as puberty gingivitis, a condition that may progress to periodontitis - the more serious type of gum disease that can lead to tooth and bone loss.
To help reduce bacteria in the mouth and give their dentist a chance to check for any oral health diseases or conditions that require treatment, regular dental exams and cleanings are necessary.
Hormones naturally increase as puberty sets in. Chemistry in the mouth can also change, potentially triggering more bacteria to form on the teeth and erode enamel, which can leave your teen's teeth vulnerable to cavities.
Daily dental routines may need to shift to help prevent negative effects due to microbial growth. Our dentists recommend brushing after each meal and using an anti-bacterial mouthwash to help reduce damage to tooth enamel. Teens should also remember to floss once every day.
Lifestyle & Habits
As your teen's life naturally gets busier and they become more independent, you may notice they tend to sleep in more, stay up later and indulge in more take-out and junk food than they did as children. This means they'll need a diligent oral healthcare routine to keep up.
Your teen might consider carrying a travel-sized case of dental supplies in their backpack or purse for easy access - a small toothbrush, sugarless gum, floss pick and mini bottle of mouthwash can help keep their smile and teeth healthy and white.
The shape of your teen's face will change as they age, and their jaw and mouth may transform significantly. If this leads to issues for their oral health, your dentist can take X-rays of the teeth and jaw, assess whether treatment is required and potentially refer your teen to an orthodontist. Braces for procedures on the jaw may be required to correct bite problems and avoid long-term oral health issues.