If you are a teenager or the parent of a teenager, today’s OKC Smiles post is for you. Today’s post discusses dental health issues of special concern to adolescents. Dental risks for Oklahoma City teens include both developmental and lifestyle-related factors.
At OKC Smiles, we see tooth decay and gum disease far too often in teens. Possible causes and complicating factors include insufficient dental hygiene, unhealthy diet, a 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. Moreover, 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 Oklahoma City adolescents – presumably without their parents’ knowledge.
Malocclusion can make proper brushing and flossing difficult, 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, he or she may be a candidate for Invisalign clear braces.
In spite of numerous public service campaigns to prevent teen smoking, many take up the habit even before they graduate from high school. Smoking wrecks teeth as surely as it wrecks lungs.
Oklahoma City parents of adolescents 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. We can advise you if more frequent professional cleanings are required to preserve gum health.
If you visit any soccer field or basketball court in Oklahoma, you will see that many young athletes fail to protect their teeth. If your adolescent participates in a contact sport, speak with us about custom athletic mouth guards.
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