If you are a teenager or the parent of a teenager, today’s Jeff Gray DDS – Sedation & Cosmetic Dentistry post is for you. Today’s post discusses dental issues of special concern to adolescents. Dental risks for La Mesa teens include both developmental and lifestyle-related factors.
At Jeff Gray DDS – Sedation & Cosmetic Dentistry, we see cavities and gum disease far too often in teens. Possible causes and complicating circumstances include insufficient dental hygiene, unhealthy diet, malocclusion (misaligned bite), smoking, hormonal changes, tooth grinding, mouth breathing, eating disorders, and side effects of medications.
As children become more independent, some get lax about brushing and flossing. Furthermore, some teens’ diets become worse when they have more freedom to choose what to eat. Few parents let their four year-old drink an energy drink, but they are consumed frequently by La Mesa teenagers – presumably without their parents’ knowledge.
Malocclusion can make proper brushing and flossing problematic, leaving even vigilant brushers with decay from food particles that are almost impossible to remove. Malocclusion can also trigger TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint) issues. If you suspect that your teen’s bite is not aligned properly, or if your teen notices a clicking sound in the jaw joint, call Jeff Gray DDS – Sedation & Cosmetic Dentistry at 619-337-7700 to schedule a general dentistry exam.
In spite of numerous California public service campaigns aimed at preventing teen smoking, many adolescents take up the dangerous habit even before they graduate from high school. Smoking wrecks teeth as surely as it wrecks lungs.
La Mesa parents of teenagers are well aware that puberty has a significant impact on physical and emotional health. Puberty causes all sorts of changes in the body, and the mouth is no exception. Increased hormone levels (especially in females) can cause the body to react to a very small amount of plaque, triggering inflammation of gum tissue and increased risk of the more advanced form of gum disease known as periodontitis. Your dentist can guide you if more frequent professional cleanings are required to preserve gum health.
If you visit any soccer field or basketball court in California, you will see that many young athletes fail to protect their teeth. If your adolescent participates in a contact sport, communicate with us about custom athletic mouthguards.
One of the teen dental issues that impacts most young men and women is wisdom teeth. It’s best to start monitoring your teen’s wisdom teeth early so they can be treated before they lead to troubles with the jaw or surrounding teeth. And you certainly don’t want to send your high-school grad to an out-of-state college without addressing his or her third molars. If problems appear, your youth won’t be near their regular dentist, will probably miss class, and will either need to come home or use an out-of-network dentist or oral surgeon. If you don’t have a family dentist, Dr. Jeff Gray of Jeff Gray DDS – Sedation & Cosmetic Dentistry can examine your teen and evaluate X-rays to guide you on the best course of action for his or her wisdom teeth.
This article is by no means exhaustive on the vital subject of adolescent oral health. Future posts will discuss orthodontia, oral piercings, eating disorders, and abnormal teeth growth.
If you are looking for a family dentist in the La Mesa area, I invite you to schedule an appointment at Jeff Gray DDS – Sedation & Cosmetic Dentistry by calling 619-337-7700. We have been providing unmatched dental care to La Mesa families since 1986. For more information about teen dental health or Invisalign, porcelain veneers, or teeth whitening, call today.