Did you know that your child is 60 times more likely to suffer damage to the teeth without the use of a mouthguard? Did you also know that the CDC estimates that more than 3 million teeth are knocked out during youth sports? Without the use of a mouthguard, a child or teen is likely to break teeth, damage their jaw, more likely to suffer from a concussion, and more likely to suffer from lacerated lips and cheeks…ouch! Mouth guards help protect you against dental damage by offering a cushion in front of your teeth and softening any blows to the face. Wearing a mouthguard is encouraged during football, hockey, basketball, boxing, field hockey, lacrosse, martial arts, wrestling, roller hockey, and more. Your mouthguard is your friend and helps to keep your teeth healthy and strong!
In recent years, there has been an increase among teens who have or want facial piercings. Among these piercings, oral piercings have also had a rise in popularity. Lower lip piercings, upper lip piercings, frenulum piercings, and tongue piercings all pose a risk to oral health. Metal piercings can do some real damage to dental appliances, such as retainers, braces, crowns, and implants. The piercing itself creates pressure against the back of the teeth, and this can make the teeth loosen, move, or can create gaps where gaps did not exist prior. This specific dental condition is called a diastema, and diastema can happen with or without the aid of oral piercing. Other conditions that can happen with an oral piercing is cracking or chipping of the teeth from consistent collision, bacterial infections, and/or gum erosion.
Tobacco and nicotine both in any form can cause irreparable damage to the teeth and mouth. Chewing tobacco, cigarettes, nicotine gum, and e-cigarettes are all guilty of causing minor problems that can develop into major health issues. Chewing snuff could lead to periodontal disease in a little under four months of frequent use, or can also cause pre-cancerous lesions within the mouth and gums. E-cigarattes can host a plethora of bacteria and hold chemicals that are extremely bad for the body and mouth, and cigarettes can cause dry mouth, browning and staining of the teeth, as well as accelerating any decay in the mouth from the chemicals and smoke itself. For the sake of your oral health and overall health, stay away from tobacco and nicotine in any form!
Sweets, Sodas, and Energy Drinks
Despite it’s bad reputation, an alarming number of teens consume soda and other sugary soft drinks every day, despite the fact that this behavior contributes to unhealthy habits and overall poor health. It’s no rumor that teens love their sweets, sodas, and energy drinks. They love the quick caffeine kick for a physical and mental energy boost, the efficiency of being able to take them on the-go, the cheap price, and of course the sweetened carbonation and flavors. What’s not a rumor is the amount of damage these sugary treats can cause to the gums, mouth, and teeth. The amount of sugar in each of these soft drinks would surprise anyone, and these sugars from these drinks love to stick to your teeth’s surfaces, grooves, and spaces between the teeth. The more sugar you consume over time, the more plaque will build up and wear down the teeth, and then gradually these sugars will cause cavities. The acidity of the drinks also wears down the enamel after time, leaving your teeth looking dull and grey. There’s a reason why some soft drinks are used to clean appliances and clear drains!
Wisdom teeth, or your third molars, are teeth that begin to come in during young adulthood. They begin to emerge around the ages of 17-21 years old. Sometimes, there is not enough room in the mouth for the teeth to be able to grow properly, or they’re growing in a direction that isn’t straight up in the mouth, and/or may be growing sideways. In these cases, your dentist will refer you out to an oral surgeon to have your wisdom teeth removed. Not everyone’s teeth are on the same schedule, however, and that is why it’s important that you visit your dentist regularly for your 6-month checkups. Your dentist will continually monitor the growth and development of your wisdom teeth, and they will take a close look for any signs and symptoms that wisdom teeth can cause such as: pain, infection, sensitivity in the area, cysts, and damage to adjacent teeth.
According to the Academy of General Dentistry, teens who bite their nails are at a greater risk for damaging their front teeth. The act of biting down on the strong fingernail keratin can gradually wear down the enamel, and cause chips and mini fractures to the teeth as well.The jagged and sharp fingernail edges from frequent biting can cause damage and tear the surrounding gum tissue. Not to mention that your hands and fingers are prone to many different kinds of bacteria from different surfaces every single day, and the act of biting your nails spreads those germs into your mouth. Yuck!
Added stress to the body can cause different anxious or stressful habits to form. One of these habits that just so happens to affect your teeth directly is the act of teeth grinding or “bruxism”, jaw clenching, or teeth gnashing. Grinding one’s teeth at night can cause different problems for the crowns of your teeth, and for your sleep patterns themselves. Bruxism can be a result of stress, pressure changes, growth, or from anxiety. The constant grinding of the teeth together can cause the teeth to wear down, cause facial pain, headaches, tooth sensitivity, recessed gums, and/or tooth loss. Dentists will often suggest the use of a mouth guard to be worn at night from the consistent bruxism.