The teenage years and early twenties are exciting times of many changes – starting high school, first jobs, many new relationships, finishing high school, training, Uni, moving out, starting careers… the list goes on.
These are years of exploring new interests and testing boundaries. These changes and challenges can affect conditions in the mouth and can form habits that have long term effects on oral health.
More tooth decay
Studies have shown that young adults (18-24) years old in Australia have more tooth decay compared to Australian children at 12 years of age. Oral health gains made during school years are not continued into adulthood. It is thought that the many changes in the lives on young adults may result in less frequent tooth brushing, new eating patterns and less regular dental check-ups – changes that can increase the risk of tooth decay.
What to do – remember the basics:
Fluoride is needed daily throughout life to protect teeth against decay
Fluoride is most easily applied daily through brushing with fluoride toothpaste and drinking fluoridated water
Brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste reduces the risk of tooth decay much more than brushing only once a day
The most important time to apply some fluoride is before bedtime as the flow of saliva (which protects teeth against decay) is lowest during sleep
Use floss to remove plaque between teeth
Have regular dental check-ups
Don’t share toothbrushes – bacteria that cause tooth decay can be spread from person to person
If second daily brushing is not possible, fluoride can be applied simply by placing some toothpaste on a finger and smearing on the teeth
Mouth rinses can also be a source of additional application
Look in your mouth regularly for early signs of tooth decay and other problems – look for white spots near the gum line
Acidic foods and drinks can erode enamel – perhaps look at low acid foods and drinks
Drink plenty of water
If you play a sport, a professionally made mouthguard is highly recommended
If you have a tongue and lip piercing (as there are risks of infection with any piercing), Individuals should ensure that instruments to be used have been properly sterilised beforehand to avoid the risk of Hep B & C, tetanus or HIV.
For more information call us today and book your dental check-up.