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Statistics show that dental caries affects 50% of individuals between 12 and 19 in America. Many oral health problems develop due to poor dental hygiene. A teen’s lifestyle and diet could also trigger tooth decay and gum disease. Rural Health Corporation of Northeastern PA ensures your child’s dental care access through the Monroe TWP adolescent medicine program.

What are the common oral health issues in teens?

  1. Poor diet and tooth decay

Cavities develop when plaque accumulates on the surface of the tooth. Foods rich in sugar and carbohydrates provide food that encourages disease-carrying bacteria to thrive. The microorganisms release acids, weakening the tooth’s enamel.

Teens are also prone to skipping their daily dental hygiene routine. Brushing teeth twice a day and flossing prevent plaque from accumulating. Tartar is a calcified deposit that may develop if your teen neglects regular oral hygiene.

Your dentist may recommend dental sealants to stop tooth decay. Sealants are thin coatings applied on the tooth’s upper surface to minimize enamel erosion. According to the CDC, they can reduce the risk of cavities by 80% for people of all ages.

  1. Gingivitis or periodontal disease

Gingivitis is a condition caused by the inflammation of the gums. it often affects adults over 30 years, and the risk increases with age.

However, children can also develop gingivitis. Poor dental hygiene is the most common cause of the condition. Plaque irritates the gums, causing inflammation. Redness and swelling of gums are the most common gingivitis symptoms.

If your child has gum disease, it is advisable to visit a dentist immediately. Gingivitis can progress into a more severe condition called periodontal disease. Periodontitis often leads to the loss or misalignment of teeth due to gum deterioration. Prompt treatment is essential for preventing complications.

  1. Sensitive teeth

Sensitive teeth describe uncomfortable tingling or stinging sensations. It often happens when taking hot or cold foods. A mild case of sensitive teeth is nothing to worry about and may indicate healthy teeth.

But if your child frequently experiences sharp pain, it could indicate a serious oral health problem. It may be a sign of tooth decay. When the enamel erodes, the tooth’s dentin containing critical nerves is exposed, causing stinging sensations.

Another factor is teeth grinding, which affects 15% of adolescents. The friction from rubbing teeth damages the upper surface and exposes the dentin. Teeth grinding can damage teeth and increase the risk of inflammation.

  1. Tooth trauma or injuries

Teenagers often engage in intense activities, which increase the risk of tooth or jawbone trauma. A fractured tooth is the most prevalent form of injury. The damaged tooth can have physiological and psychological implications for your teen.

Preventing dental problems

Parents should encourage their children to stick to their daily dental hygiene routine. Brushing the tooth twice a day clears plaque and reduces the risk of cavities and gum disease.

Regular visits to your child’s dentist ensure oral health problems are identified on time. Treating dental conditions is more affordable at that early stage.

Schedule an appointment with Rural Health Corporation of Northeastern PA to learn more.