According to the American Dental Association, it only takes 24 hours for enough bacteria to form in the mouth to start causing gum disease. Usually this can be solved by brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing daily. But while you may be able to hold yourself accountable (most of the time!), it is probably a lot more difficult to encourage your teenagers to adhere to good oral hygiene.
Unfortunately, teens, who often think they are invincible, are more susceptible to developing periodontal disease than they or you think. Here are some of the most significant causes of gum disease in teenagers.
As your kids hit puberty, they will begin to experience a lot of changes in their body, especially girls. The surge in production of the female hormones estrogen and progesterone that occurs during puberty can increase the blood flow to the gums, causing them to be more reactive to plaque.
Although braces can straighten teeth, they can’t prevent gum disease – and often make it worse! Due to the interconnecting wires of traditional braces, teens must cut down on sweets, chips and soda. Braces have tiny spaces where food particles and plaque get trapped, which cause tooth decay and promote gum disease.
Recent research found that lack of proper sleep is the second most important lifestyle factor that affects the progression of periodontal disease in people (after smoking). And according to the National Sleep Foundation, only 15% of teenagers report getting enough sleep at night. Adolescents between the ages of 13-18 need between 8-9½ hours of sleep to get maximum results, not only in fighting periodontal disease, but increasing cognitive ability, improving moods and performing better in school.
Poor dental care habits also result in plaque buildup, which is a common cause of gum disease. However, teens can easily combat that and most other causes of gum disease by ensuring they brush and floss daily. Other prevention tips include eating a well-balanced diet, avoiding sugary or starchy snacks, getting the appropriate amount of sleep and visiting a dental professional twice a year. W
Teen Health Begins at the Gums