Being a teenager isn’t always easy. At times teens don’t always make the best decisions, even when it comes to their oral health. Some common habits among people ages thirteen to eighteen can weaken the teeth. Regardless of whether they realize it, a teen’s diet, extracurriculars, and fashion choices can negatively impact their oral health.

Regular dental check-ups and twice daily brushing are highly recommended at any age and can help combat the negative effects of some of their choices.

Smoking/Alcohol/Drugs in General
Well hopefully people in their teen years are not participating in these activities since alcohol is illegal for people under twenty-one (at least in the U.S.) and drugs are not legal for anyone. Cigarettes stain teeth and cause bad breath, which affects self-esteem at all stations in life. Smoking can lead to bone shrinkage, reduced salivation production, and even oral cancer. Alcohol also inhibits saliva production, which is the body’s way of fighting oral decay. Plus drinking can cause swelling of the mouth and salivary glands. Drugs and alcohol are not good for anyone of any age due to their damaging and addictive nature, but some healthier activities can compromise your dental health too.

Sports demand physical activity, which releases endorphins, burns calories, and allows muscle growth. Despite the many benefits sports can give a young body, an inherent risk of after-school sports is injury. An injury may break a tooth or multiple teeth, which could require implants that dentist may not give to people under eighteen. Physical activity can potentially hurt your mouth, and so can many foods. In order to get the most out of physical activities, take precautions and look into protecting your teeth and mouth before you engage.

Sugary Foods
This is common knowledge, yet many teenagers, and to be fair, adults, still eat more sugar than what their body needs. The Dental Care Alliance’s (DCA) website elaborates on sugar’s effects by saying that it “can feed bacteria that eat away at enamel and lead to tooth decay.” The DCA also says to limit sticky foods since brushing alone may not remove residue. In general, people should be careful of what they put in their mouth, and this suggestion especially applies to items that are not edible.

Tongue rings may look cool, but they do possess dental risks. The American Dental Hygenists Association (ADHA) states that if the metal hits the wearer’s teeth or gums too often, the ring can damage those parts of the mouth. The ADHA also claims that if mouth jewelry is not made with surgical-grade steel, it can cause allergic reactions and infections. Allergies aside, the ring can also be a breeding ground for bacteria if it is not cleaned enough.

The teen years may be full of health risks, but that does not mean anyone has to fall victim to them. To keep a strong, healthy smile, just limit sugar and controlled substances and be careful when doing sports and exercise. Even though a high school education is lots of work, be sure to also educate yourself before getting an oral piercing.

It is important to take care of your physical health as well as your dental health. The teenage years are crucial to maintaining good oral care practices. Let our dental practice in Walled Lake, Mi help. Dr. Hechtman has been providing dental care for over 40 years! Our goal at Walled Lake Dentistry is to work with our patients in achieving and maintaining long term dental health and a beautiful smile. Call us today at 248-669-5221 and get started on healthy mouth and smile!