Is Your Teen at Risk of Poor Dental Health?

  • Posted on: May 30 2018

Oral Hygiene Grand Rapids MIWhen children are young and their teeth are developing, a lot of effort goes into teaching them how to brush and floss. Parents often go to great lengths to encourage school-aged children to maintain good oral care habits. They may limit the amount of sugar they consume and may offer rewards for daily brushing and flossing. Parents are also in control of scheduling routine dental care. The habits that begin early in life are intended to last throughout adulthood. According to studies, there is often a lapse somewhere along the way.

The teenage years are often a time of intense activity. Kids are busy with school and friends and extracurricular activities and, at some point, jobs. With everything the average teen has going on these days, there is an enormous risk of diminished oral health. In fact, the Academy of General Dentistry has confirmed that teens are not only at a higher risk because of their busy lifestyle, but also because we forget that they are in a significant developmental stage.

Did you know that, between the age of 9 and 18, a child is at her peak in terms of bone development? When we talk about bone, we also need to think about teeth. Both bone and tooth structure are supported by calcium (as is gum health). Current research suggests that, while teens have more need for good calcium stores, they also have a direct risk of calcium depletion due to the consumption of soft drinks.

Studies show that ingredients in soda are risky to bone and tooth structure because substances like phosphoric acid inhibit calcium absorption. One study in particular related higher risk of bone fractures in teenage girls to their consumption of such beverages. Furthermore, acidic substances such as the citric acid found in many soft drinks also directly attack teeth.

When we consume soda and other carbonated beverages, acidic residue sits on the outer surface of our teeth. Regarding strength, enamel is comparable to bone. However, acidic residue degrades enamel much in the same way ocean waves degrade the coastline. We may not see acid damaging enamel, but it eventually shows up as discoloration, tooth sensitivity, and, at some point, tooth fractures.

Teens live hectic lives these days, but that doesn’t have to threaten their oral health. Schedule checkups and cleanings for your family in our Grand Rapids office, where we can work together to offset common dental risks. Call 616-458-0631.

Posted in: Oral Hygiene