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Dental Health Issues Of Teenagers

The world of a teenager can feel difficult enough without having to concern themselves with their dental well-being. Yet during these formative years as they move from childhood to adulthood, looking after the teeth and gums is just as crucial. This includes regular brushing, flossing and dentist check-ups to help prevent the build-up of plaque, which leads to cavities and gum disease, as well as the potential for bad breath.

The teenage years are often the time when they will require braces to help with any teeth alignment issues. Braces do more than just straighten teeth. When teeth are correctly aligned, they are easier to clean, leading to a healthier mouth and less oral health problems. Today’s braces have come a long way since metal “train-track” braces, and are much more discreet, with greater comfort.

Another teenage concern: Toward the end of the teen years, the wisdom teeth come through, which may impact on their other teeth if there is not sufficient room to accommodate them, requiring additional dental care. Having an extraction is sometimes necessary, and is a straightforward process.

Now teenagers have a further consideration when it comes to their dental care, the rise of vaping. Recent studies suggest e-cigarettes are not healthier than regular cigarettes as first hoped. The vapour burned by e-cigarettes contains substances such as ultra-fine particles which can cause irritation to the lungs. Inflammatory proteins are released when vaping which can lead to cell damage and oral diseases, with some of the flavourings used in the devices making matters worse.

Inflammation is seen as the root of the problem, causing the lungs to fill with fluid, an inflammation not attributed to infection. The teens who have suffered have generally recovered, but the unknown is whether there will be any long-term damage.

No specific device or flavouring can be pointed at as being the cause and many who have been hospitalised admit to recent vaping of marijuana containing products.

E-cigarettes also contain nicotine, a substance linked to gum disease and some e-cigarettes can contain as much nicotine in one pod as a whole pack of regular cigarettes. It is therefore possible such high concentration of nicotine may also be aggravating the lungs in teenagers, causing respiratory problems.

If you have a teenager, talk to your dentist about these oral health issues. Give your child the best start in their adult years with a great smile. And take steps to prevent oral health and respiratory problems caused by vaping e-cigarettes.

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