Adolescent Oral Health Concerns

Adolescent Oral Health Concerns

You and your family’s dental needs change with age. When it comes to your children’s oral health, there are different oral health concerns that come along with infancy, early childhood, childhood, and adolescence. Adolescence, in particular, has its own unique set of oral health concerns that you and your adolescent child should be aware of. Here are some of the issues that can affect your adolescent child’s oral health: 


Smoking (Tobacco/Cannabis)

Adolescence is a time of exploration and some children may be tempted to try smoking as a new activity. As most people know, smoking tobacco is extremely detrimental to both your oral and overall health. However, other people smoke cannabis for various reasons. While cannabis does not contain the same harmful ingredients as tobacco products, a study published in JAMA did find evidence that smoking cannabis could increase your child’s risk of developing periodontal disease. 

girl with books getting something out of vending machine

Vending Machines

Vending machines can quickly become a part of your child’s everyday life, especially since they offer a fast, convenient way to obtain food and beverages. However, the food and beverages found in vending machines are usually loaded with sugars and lack true nutritional value. As a result of regularly consuming excessive amounts of sugar, your adolescent child puts themselves at a much higher risk for developing tooth decay and gum disease. Therefore, it is important to discuss the importance of diet with your child to help regulate how often they rely on vending machines. 


Pediatric Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease, more commonly known as gum disease, is a common dental issue for children and adults. However, there is a destructive form of periodontal disease known as Generalized Aggressive Periodontitis (GAgP), which primarily affects adolescents between the ages of 12-17. GAgP causes periodontal inflammation and excess plaque accumulation that spans across all of your child’s teeth. Since this form of gum disease is highly damaging, the earlier treatment is received, the better. 


Oral Piercings

An oral piercing is any piercing around or in your child’s mouth. The most common oral piercing is a tongue piercing, followed by lip piercings. In some cases, the cheeks and uvula can be pierced as well. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry advocates against oral piercings because they are detrimental to your child’s oral health. For starters, many oral piercings become infected due to the high amounts of bacteria found in the mouth. Not only that, but oral piercings can cause damage to the teeth, gums, and any restorations within the mouth. 

adolescent athletes

Sports-Related Orofacial Injuries

During adolescence, many children play sports as an extracurricular activity. As beneficial as sports are for your child, they do also increase the risk of orofacial injuries that affect the teeth, gums, and surrounding structures. In most cases, it is the upper lip, maxilla, and upper incisors that generally sustain injury since they sit slightly forward. Luckily, you can help prevent orofacial injuries by encouraging your child to wear a mouthguard while playing sports. For some high contact sports, such as ice hockey, lacrosse, and football, mouthguards may be required for participation. However, even if your child plays a sport that does not require a mouthguard, they are strongly recommended to protect your child from suffering a dental emergency. 

Dr. Deborah TabbPatients at Bethesda Family Dentistry benefit from the knowledge and experience that only comes from a diverse team. From general dentistry to endodontic, periodontics, and cosmetic dental services, this Bethesda, MD clinic is ready to be the only source you need for all your oral health needs.