If you are a teenager or the parent of a teenager, this Harris Dental in Phoenix AZ post is for you. We’ll discuss dental issues of special concern to adolescents. Dental risks for teens include both developmental and lifestyle-related factors.
At our practice, we see decay and gum disease far too often in teens. Possible causes and complicating factors 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 teen’s 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 adolescents.
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 hears a clicking sound in the jaw joint, it’s time for an exam!
In spite of numerous public service campaigns aimed at preventing teen smoking, many youths take up the dangerous habit even before they graduate from high school. Smoking wrecks teeth as surely as it wrecks lungs.
Puberty also has a significant impact on dental health. It causes all sorts of changes in the body, and the mouth is no exception. Increased hormone levels 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 guide you if more frequent professional cleanings are needed to preserve gum health.
There’s also the threat of injury; many young athletes fail to protect their teeth. If your adolescent participates in a contact sport, communicate with us about custom athletic mouth-guards.
One dental concern that can impact a lot of young people is wisdom teeth. It’s best to start monitoring your teen’s wisdom teeth early so they can be treated before they result in problems 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 their third molars. If problems appear, 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.
This article is by no means exhaustive on the vital subject of adolescent oral health. If you are looking for a family dentist, contact Harris Dental in Phoenix AZ today. We have been providing trusted dental care to families in Queen Creek, Scottsdale, and Mesa for decades. For more specifics about teen dental health or general dentistry, request an appointment today!
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