Teens and Oral Care

Most 19 year olds drink 868 cans of pop a year! Each can of pop contains 10 tsps of sugar

Bad Breath

group of teens

We all experience bad breath at different times for different reasons. Certain foods, poor oral hygiene, gum disease, a dry mouth, use of tobacco products or a medical disorder can cause bad breath. In many cases simple changes in personal or hygiene habits can freshen your breath. Bacteria are usually the cause behind bad breath. Studies of the effect of tongue cleaning on bad breath have revealed that accumulation of bacteria and plaque on the tongue is an important factor for bad breath in adolescents. Oral malodor levels were significantly reduced after cleaning the surface of the tongue. Thus, tongue care shouldn’t be neglected in order to avoid bad breath.


Braces can help you straighten and align your teeth and jaw to make your teeth easier to clean and give you a more natural and balanced appearance. Crooked and crowded teeth are hard to take care of and clean which may lead to tooth decay, gum disease and possible tooth loss. Bad bites can also cause difficulty in speaking and chewing; cause abnormal wear on tooth surfaces and lead to problems with bones, jaw joints and gum tissue.

Eating Disorders

Bulimia is harmful to overall health and destructive to teeth. The repeated binge eating followed by self-induced vomiting exposes tooth enamel to strong acids that erode the tooth enamel. Over time, teeth exposed to stomach acids become worn and translucent and decay easily. Your mouth, throat and salivary glands may become swollen and tender. Bad breath can result.

Anorexia is self-induced starvation. Inadequate nutrient intake damages not only teeth but also muscles and major organs.

Obesity affects oral health. Overweight teens have a 70% chance of becoming overweight or obese adults leading to Type II Diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and osteoporosis.


Snacking throughout the day can increase your risk of developing tooth decay. Each time you eat the bacteria in plaque produce harmful acids that attack your teeth for up to twenty minutes after you eat. Over time these acids can wear down tooth enamel putting them at a higher risk to decay. Try eating healthy snacks. To keep your smile healthy, limit snacks and eat balanced meals made of foods from the five major food groups: breads, cereals and grains, fruits, vegetables, meat and protein alternatives, milk, yogurt and cheese. Drinking water and chewing sugar free gum with xylitol after meals or snacks throughout the day can also help cleanse teeth.


Don’t take your mouth for granted. Be cool and protect your smile while you play sports.

A mouthguard is used to help you protect your smile during any activities you may be involved with where you may receive a blow to your face or mouth. They help prevent broken teeth and injuries to your face, jaw, lips and tongue. There are three types of mouth guards: ready-made, mouth formed boil-and-bite, or custom made by your dentist. All three mouthguards provide protection, but vary in comfort and cost.

Soft-drinks & Cavities

12oz of Pop = 10 tsp of sugar
The average male teen drinks 868 cans a year= 540 cups of sugar in a year!

Whether at school, home or on the weekends, teens are dinking more soda than they have in the past. There are simple ways for teens to limit the harmful effects of sodas. Sipping Soda through a straw cuts down the contact the beverage has with teeth and rinsing the mouth with water after drinking soda can also reduce the risk of cavities.

There is so much acid in soda-pop that it will eat the paint off of a car if you poured it on the hood! Imagine what that can do to your teeth.

Basic Steps for Oral Health:

  • Brush twice daily with a fluoride containing toothpaste
  • Clean between your teeth daily with floss
  • Limit snacks and eat nutritious, well balanced meals
  • Visit your dentist every 6 months or as needed

Mouth Jewelry

Oral piercings or mouth jewelry can be dangerous. It can cause infection that can cause more pain from swelling due to a lip or tongue puncture. Your tongue could swell up large enough to block your airway. Piercings can cause uncontrolled bleeding, injury to gum tissue, nerve damage, choking if appliances are not secure, and jewelry can cause chipped or broken teeth.

Tobacco FAQs

  • High School students who smoke: 39%
  • Kids who become daily smokers each year: 8,100
  • Kids alive today who will die from smoking: 35,000
  • Number of illegally sold packs of cigarettes to kids: 1.7 million*
  • Teens who smoke cigarettes are 14X more likely to try marijuana than are those who dont smoke and 60% of repeat marijuana smokers used cigarettes first.
  • Smokers are about twice as likely to lose their teeth.
  • Smokers and chew causes bad breath, oral cancer and periodontal diseases.
  • Adolescents are the fastest-rising group of tobacco users.-Carol Southard, who leads the smoking cessation initiative for the American Dental Hygienists Association


The Academy of General Dentistry makes the following recommendations for teens who want to whiten their teeth:

  • You should wait for whitening procedures until at least the age of 14. This will account for the full formation of the tooth pulp which means that you will experience less sensitivity.
  • Drink soda and coffee through a straw to prevent discoloration of the upper front teeth.
  • If you wear braces you will have to wait until they are removed.
  • With the supervision of your dentist some bleaching can be performed prior to having cosmetic treatment.

Wisdom Teeth

The last teeth to erupt are your wisdom teeth or third molars and will appear around the ages of 17-21. Many times there is limited room in the jaw for these teeth which can lead them to become impacted. This means they cannot fully emerge from the gum tissue. Impacted teeth can damage the teeth next to them. Partially erupted wisdom teeth are difficult to clean which can lead to gum tissue infection.


Todays fast-paced lifestyle is damaging oral and overall health, according to a new study in the latest issue of General Dentistry. Quick meals of nutrition bars and carbonated beverages may help to keep teens alert during the day, but theyre contributing to permanent health damage. Premature loss of tooth enamel and weakening of overall tooth structure are two devastating oral effects of teens poor diet that cannot be reversed later in life. Only 13.5 percent of girls and 36.3 percent of boys age 12 to 19 in the United States get the recommended daily amount of calcium, placing them at serious risk for osteoporosis and other bone diseases, according to statistics from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Because nearly 90 percent of adult bone mass is established by the end of this age range, the nations youth stand in the midst of a calcium crisis.

Mouth Image

Poor oral health and nutrition care can prevent you from having the mouth image you desire. Teens primary concerns are for straight, white teeth. What can you do to help you improve your mouth image:

  • Drink bottled tap water that contains fluoride instead of soda. This strengthens teeth and prevents dehydration and cleanses excess bacteria in the mouth.
  • Making sure you brush your teeth for two full minutes or the length of your favorite song.
  • Avoid sugary snacks!
  • Consult with a dentist before trying over the counter whitening systems.