How Diet and Poor Habits Can Affect the Oral Health of Children Becoming Teenagers
There are various concerns regarding oral health in children as they transition into their teenage years. These may involve dietary concerns along with poor lifestyle habits that may negatively impact a child’s oral health. Additionally, teens often avoid preventive care and may not show interest in maintaining good daily oral hygiene practices. Staying informed and supporting your child in maintaining proper oral care practices will help ensure healthy smiles into adulthood and beyond.
Diet and Oral Health
Many teens have poor dietary habits that may result in tooth decay. They tend to consume junk food, candy, and sugary drinks. These foods, combined with the bacteria in the mouth, create acids which attack tooth enamel. Sticky and chewy candies are particularly harmful to your teen’s oral health because they linger in tooth crevices. To avoid damage and decay, make sure to encourage your child to floss and brush thoroughly, especially after having a sugary treat.
Eating disorders mostly occur among teenage girls and continue to rise among boys. The most common ones are anorexia nervosa, bulimia, and binge eating. Eating disorders can potentially damage your child’s oral health by affecting the way the teeth fit together, along with causing dry mouth, dental erosion, redness of the throat, and bruising of the palate. If you feel your child suffers from an eating disorder, your trusted team at Smile Explorers Pediatric Dentistry can help with advice or referrals for your teen to begin the recovery process.
Chewing on Objects
Some teens chew on objects such as pens or bite their fingernails. These objects may cause broken teeth or injured gums. They are also covered in germs that may lead to oral infections. You may want to help your child overcome these habits by offering sugarless gum, which can help prevent tooth decay.
Piercings of the lips or tongue can cause a host of problems. They often result in oral infections, along with chipping or breaking of teeth. In some rare cases, the tongue can swell to the point that it cuts off the airway, causing breathing problems. Talk to your teens about the harms of oral piercings and encourage them to make safe choices.
Smoking and Using Tobacco Products
Smoking and tobacco use, even the use of e-cigarettes, is detrimental to a teen’s oral health. They can cause bad breath and staining of the teeth, and also expose the users to dangers such as nicotine addiction, tooth decay, gum disease, tooth loss, and oral cancer. Tobacco use has been linked to heart disease, lung cancer, and many other health conditions. Talk to your kids about the dangers of tobacco use.
Poor Dental Habits
Many children and teens neglect to brush their teeth at least twice daily and to floss daily. Poor oral health habits increase the risk of gum disease and cavities on and between teeth. Encourage your child to practice proper oral hygiene practices to ensure optimal oral health. It’s also important that you bring in your teen for routine dental exams and cleanings twice a year. During your child’s appointment, we will discuss proper care for healthy smiles.
Schedule Your Appointment Today
Visit at Smile Explorers Pediatric Dentistry to learn more about helping your teen maintain a healthy smile. We are here to offer tips and advice to help your child avoid making poor choices that pose harm to his or her oral health. We look forward to caring for your teen’s dental needs. Call us today!