Going to the dentist can feel like a chore for many people. Children and teens in particular can be reluctant to go in for cleanings and regular checkups. However, starting good dental habits early is an essential part of maintaining a healthy mouth throughout adulthood. Dental decay is something that is common in teens. Around 59 percent of adolescents ages 12 to 19 have dental decay in their permanent teeth. Taking care of their teeth should be a priority for many teens. Here are three things that teens should know about their dental health.
Mouthguards Are A Must
Sports are something that millions of teens across America enjoy on a regular basis. While the exercise and team building that playing sports encourages is great for teens, sports can have a negative impact on dental health if precautions are not taken. Losing teeth and other oral injuries because of high-impact sports is a common dental issue that many teens face. The best solution is to wear a mouthguard. Mouthguards are estimated to prevent more than 200,000 oral injuries per year. Losing a permanent tooth can be a major issue for teens. Dental implants are an option, but they can be expensive. Mouthguards are a great way to prevent the loss of teeth due to sports.
Piercings Can Have An Effect
Many teens love to experiment with their appearances. Hair dye and piercings are common methods of expression. What many teens may not know is that certain types of piercings can have an impact on oral health. Piercings to the tongue, cheeks, or lips can make it difficult to speak, chew, or swallow. Piercings can also lead to infection as well as damage to the gums and teeth. Teens should consult with their dentists before getting any piercings. Any swelling, pain, tenderness, or discharge should be addressed immediately. Proper oral hygiene is the best way to prevent infection from piercings.
Eating Disorders Can Have Long-Term Impacts
In the US around 20 million women and 10 million men suffer from eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia. Many people develop these disorders during adolescence. A lack of nutrients from restricting food intake can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. Frequent vomiting can lead to extensive damage of tooth enamel. These dental issues can become more severe the longer a patient has an eating disorder. Treating both the eating disorder and the effects it can have on oral health is key. Left untreated, teens with eating disorders can have major dental problems down the road.
Dental health is something that should be taken seriously from day one. Teens in particular can experience negative effects later on in life if they do not take dental care seriously. Things like not wearing mouth guards, not taking care of piercings, and eating disorders can lead to long-term dental health problems. Contact a dentist for more information.