If you are a teenager or the parent of a teenager, today’s Center for Dental Anesthesia post is for you. Today’s post discusses dental issues of special concern to adolescents. Dental risks for teens include both developmental and lifestyle-related factors.
At Center for Dental Anesthesia, we see cavities and gum disease far too often in teens. Possible causes and complicating circumstances include insufficient dental hygiene, unhealthy diet, malocclusion (misaligned bite), smoking, hormonal changes, tooth grinding, mouth breathing, eating disorders, and side effects of medications.
As children become more independent, some get lax about brushing and flossing. Additionally, some teens’ diets become worse when they have more freedom to choose what to eat. Few parents let their four year-old drink an energy drink, but they are consumed frequently by youth – presumably without their parents’ knowledge.
Malocclusion can make proper brushing and flossing challenging, leaving even vigilant brushers with decay from food particles that are almost impossible to remove. Malocclusion can also trigger TMD (Temporomandibular disorder). If you suspect that your teen’s bite is not aligned properly, or if your teen experiences a clicking sound in the jaw joint, call us at 703-379-6400 to schedule an exam.
In spite of numerous public service campaigns aimed at preventing teen smoking, many teenagers take up the dangerous habit even before they graduate from high school. Smoking wrecks teeth as surely as it wrecks lungs.
Parents are well aware that puberty has a significant impact on physical and emotional health. Puberty causes all sorts of changes in the body, and the mouth is no exception. Increased hormone levels (especially in females) can cause the body to react to a very small amount of plaque, triggering inflammation of gum tissue and increased risk of the more advanced form of gum disease known as periodontitis. Your dentist can advise you if more frequent professional cleanings are necessary to preserve gum health.
If you visit any soccer field or basketball court, you will see that many young athletes fail to protect their teeth. If your adolescent participates in a contact sport, meet with us about custom athletic mouthguards.
One of the dental issues that impacts most young men and women is wisdom teeth. It’s best to start monitoring your teen’s wisdom teeth early so they can be treated before they lead to issues with the jaw or surrounding teeth. And you certainly don’t want to send your high-school grad to an out-of-state college without addressing his or her third molars. If problems emerge, your youth won’t be near their regular dentist, will probably miss class, and will either need to come home or use an out-of-network dentist or oral surgeon. If you don’t have a family dentist, come see us. Our dentists will examine your teen and evaluate X-rays to counsel you on the best course of action for his or her wisdom teeth.
This article is by no means exhaustive on the important subject of adolescent oral health. Future posts will discuss orthodontia, oral piercings, eating disorders, and abnormal teeth growth.
If you are looking for a family dentist in the Alexandria area, I invite you to schedule an appointment at Center for Dental Anesthesia by calling 703-379-6400. We have been providing premium dental care to Alexandria families since 2015. For more information about teen dental health or comfort dentistry, teeth whitening, or orthodontics, call today.
Contact Center for Dental Anesthesia: 703-379-6400
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