Dr. Stephen A. Price


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Dental Situations The Average Teen May Encounter

By: | Wednesday, May 15th, 2019 | General Dentistry

Wednesday, May 15th, 2019

We are privileged to be a Premier Invisalign provider for teens and adults in Northern Virginia. Our patients allow us to better understand the unique situations that young people face as their dental anatomy reaches maturity. The teen years are a pivotal time during which each child transitions into a much more independent state. This independence means that the teen is learning to make choices for themselves and, as it would be, more choices means more chances for mistakes. Because dental health can go downhill quickly, we want to discuss some of the situations teens may face and how to continue fostering good habits.

Changing Body Chemistry

Physical and chemical changes begin between age 11 and 14 for most kids. The increase in estrogen in girls inherently increase gum inflammation simply because blood flow intensifies in response to this hormone. The physical development during the teen years also calls for more calories. Teens often get these additional calories from foods that could damage their teeth. Sugar feeds bacteria, which creates acidity in the mouth, which eats away healthy enamel and gum tissue. It’s a simple process that can occur around the clock but one that can be managed with good eating habits and routine oral care. Teens are encouraged to consume crunchy foods as a way to remove acidic plaque, to drink water throughout the day, and to spend two minutes brushing their teeth every morning and night. Flossing should be performed every night before bed.

In addition to sugary foods, many of the beverages that teens tend to enjoy are highly acidic. In recent years, dentists have encountered increasing instances of tooth erosion. This is different than tooth decay (cavities). Erosion is more widespread and caused by acidic substances sitting on the teeth. Erosion can lead to discoloration and an increased risk for tooth fractures.

Changing Trends

Body piercings have been popular for decades. Recently, trends have extended to include piercings in a variety of areas of the body, including the mouth. According to studies, approximately 20% of people who get an oral piercing such as a tongue piercing will experience gum recession or a tooth fracture. This is not to say a parent should forbid their teen from getting their desired piercing but that teens and parents need to be aware of the risks and establish the best possible habits to avoid them. For example, flossing daily as a way to minimize gum recession.

Our work with teens and young adults is something we greatly enjoy because we understand the risks they face and their need for ongoing encouragement to take responsibility for their long-term oral health. Get your teen the care they need. Schedule a visit in our Burke office today.



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