How Does Puberty Impact a Teen's Oral Health?

How Does Puberty Impact a Teen's Oral Health?
Posted on 02/09/2021

Feb2021 blogWhen a child reaches double-digits, their body goes through many changes. One area where changes occur and go unnoticed is the mouth. With a transformation into adulthood, you should have an awareness of some possible dental health issues associated with these changes. Learn how puberty can impact oral health and the steps to take to help protect the adult teeth for years to come.

The Onset of Puberty Gingivitis

Internally, one of the biggest changes to occur in puberty is the rise in hormones. Both males and females go through major hormone changes, including the growth of estrogen and testosterone. As bodies produce these hormones, the blood flow increases and can lead to extra blood in the gums.

When extra blood flows into the gums, teens could deal with swollen gums and gums that are more prone to bleeding. Extensive swelling and bleeding is referred to as puberty gingivitis. While proper brushing and flossing will often help with the swelling, the gums are more prone to bacteria exposure. Luckily, a dental exam and cleaning can help reduce bacteria in the mouth.

One of the main concerns with puberty gingivitis is the transformation into periodontitis. Periodontitis is a more serious form of gum disease and could result in the loss of teeth along with oral pain. The loss of teeth occurs because of bone loss in the teeth. Along with swollen gums, teens may notice the gums start to recede or pus leaking between the gums. A teen should not ignore swelling gums or major changes with their teeth.

Cavities & Hormone Changes

Swollen gums and an increase of blood is not the only concern as a teen goes through puberty. Another big change can occur with microbial growth. A has shown that the onset of puberty and an increase in hormones can change the chemistry in the mouth and may cause more bacteria to form over the teeth.

Without proper dental care, the bacteria can eat away at the enamel and make teeth more prone to cavities. During dental checkups, dentists may notice more soft spots or the onset of cavities due to the bacteria changes. A teenager may not be drastically changing their eating habits to cause the cavities, but daily dental routines may need change. To help avoid the impact of microbial growth, a teen may need to brush after every meal and use extra dental tools like a tongue scraper or floss. An anti-bacterial mouthwash will also help reduce the amount of enamel damage done to the teeth.

Jaw & Mouth Changes

A teenager who goes through puberty has to deal with a lot of growth spurts and physical changes. Growing taller is not the only way a teenager transforms. A teenager's jaw may transform as their face changes and muscles grow. The changes in the jaw can result in a change in the mouth. A teen's bite may feel different or the teeth may settle in different ways.

When mouth changes occur, the teen should visit a dentist. A dentist can use X-rays to examine the jaw and any shifts the teeth have made. If problems have developed, a dentist may refer a teen to an orthodontist for further treatment and review. A teen may need braces or other jaw procedures to fix the changes and prevent major problems in the future. For example, a teen who develops an overbite may need to wear headgear or expanders to help correct the jaw changes. A referral is key to making the changes early on and preventing more drastic changes to the jaw.

Daily Teenager Habits

T

he routines kids had for their first ten or so years of life will drastically change once they become teenagers. One of the biggest changes comes in the form of sleeping habits. Teenagers may sleep in more and stay up later. The changes in routine could lead to poor oral health decisions. Teenagers may skip out on morning brushing or snack late at night. When teenagers spend more time with friends, they may not brush their teeth as often, especially during sleepovers. Snack consumption could change and lead to snacks or drinks that damage teeth. For example, an increase in coffee, soda, or tea consumption can lead to tooth stains. The acids found in these drinks could also break down enamel and lead to cavities.

Encourage proper dental health no matter how much a teen's lifestyle has changed. Small things like a traveling dental case with a toothbrush, floss picks, and mouthwash can make a big difference. As a teenager begins to drive, you can include the dental products in the car so they have access no matter where they are located.

Receive guidance, help, and more information on a teenager's changing oral habits with our professionals at Dentistry for Children & Adolescents. We provide top care to children and will address any dental problems or concerns your teenager has when going through puberty.

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