Our SmileTown North Delta dentists explore a range of oral health issues in teens and their causes in this post.
Oral Health Issues in Teens
When your child develops into a teen, a number of oral health issues can arise as the mouth goes through significant changes due to a number of factors.
As they grow more independent, they are making more decisions for themselves and spend more time away from you - which means oral hygiene may start to take a back seat to other activities - school, social events, hobbies. At the same time, hormonal and development changes are occurring. These can all add up to a few different oral health issues we'll explore today.
The body starts to produce more estrogen and testosterone as it enters puberty, sending extra blood flow to the gums, which may then swell and be more susceptible to bleeding.
Extensive swelling and bleeding is known as puberty gingivitis, a condition that could progress to periodontitis - the more serious form of gum disease that may lead to tooth and bone loss.
Regular dental exams and cleanings can help reduce bacteria in the mouth and give your dentist the opportunity to check for any oral health conditions or diseases that need treatment.
With the onset of puberty, hormones increase, and the chemistry in the mouth can change, causing more bacteria to form on the teeth and erode enamel, leaving your teen prone to cavities.
Daily dental routines may need to change to help prevent negative impacts from this microbial growth. We may recommend brushing after every meal and using an anti-bacterial mouthwash to help reduce damage to tooth enamel. In addition, teens should remember to floss once daily.
Habits & Lifestyle
Teens lives get busier and they naturally become more independent as they get older. They may sleep in more, stay up later and eat more take-out and junk food than they did as children. That means they’ll need to stay on top of their oral healthcare.
We often recommend teens carry a travel case of dental supplies in their purse or backpack for easy access - a small toothbrush, floss pick, sugarless gum and mini bottle of mouthwash can go a long way to helping them keep their smile white and teeth healthy.
As your teen’s facial shape changes, their jaw may transform and changes in the mouth may occur. If this leads to problems, your dentist can take X-rays of the jaw and teeth, assess whether treatment is needed and potentially refer your teen to an orthodontist. Braces or procedures on the jaw may be needed to correct bite problems and avoid problems in the future.