Adolescence Teeth: The Most Important Transition into Adult Teeth
By around the age of 12, the majority of children will have already lost all of their baby teeth and will now have all of their permanent teeth. All except for their wisdom teeth (or third molars), which usually appear either during the late teens or early twenties.
As adolescents now have a mouthful of permanent teeth, this becomes a crucial stage of life regarding oral care and children’s dental development. From now on, the teeth your child or children have will need to last for the rest of their lives.
Teenagers go through numerous life changes so can their teeth. Get to know more about the impact of puberty on a teen’s oral health, common teenage dental problems and children’s dental development. Read on to learn more about helping your child maintain good oral health as they advance toward adulthood.
Does Puberty Change Your Teeth?
With all of the adult teeth now set in place by the time a child reaches their teenage years, the alignment of the teeth and the shape of the bite are also usually set. Often, during early teenage years, corrections may need to be made to teeth alignment with braces or teeth aligners.
While their adult teeth may already be established, there can still be an impact of puberty on a teen’s oral health. It’s all a part of children’s dental development. We’re all aware that teenagers experience a surge of different hormones during these formative years. These hormones can also have an impact on the overall oral health of a teenager.
While the arrangement of the teeth themselves is not likely to change much during adolescence naturally, there’s an impact of puberty on a teen’s oral health. We’ll be covering some common teenage dental problems in the next section.
Common Teenage Dental Problems
While children’s dental development often occurs at an early age, some specific problems can manifest during adolescence, mainly due to hormone changes and fluctuations.
Minor cases of gingivitis are known to be common at any age, but teenagers are even more susceptible to it. With girls, their young bodies are now experiencing a surge of both oestrogen and progesterone. These hormones can lead to an increase in blood flow to the teeth and gums, sometimes resulting in swollen gums, sore gums and bleeding gums. With teenage boys, testosterone can also lead to a surge of blood to the gums, resulting in gingivitis. While gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease, if not checked, it can develop into a more severe form of gum disease, known as periodontitis. Puberty gingivitis is one of the most common teenage dental problems.
Bad breath can occur when a teenager has gingivitis, but it can also cause other things, such as a failure to brush and floss often, eating certain foods and so on. The rise in hormones of adolescent boys and girls can also lead to an increase in bacteria building up on the teeth and gums. This bacteria can also give birth to bad breath issues in teenagers. Having a dry mouth due to dehydration is another cause. Maintaining a constant flow of saliva is crucial for good oral health and protecting the teeth by diluting any acids present in the mouth.
Hormone changes can lead to a change of chemistry in the mouth of a teenager. In the section on bad breath, there’s a mention of how hormone changes can result in an increase in bacteria on the teeth and gums. This bacteria secretes an acid that attacks the enamel of the teeth, which can ultimately lead to tooth decay developing.
Changes to the Mouth and Jaw
While the adult teeth are pretty much set and established by the time a child enters their teenage years, boys and girls are still growing. In some cases, this can cause changes in the shape of the mouth and jaw. Significant changes during a growth spurt could cause teeth to become misaligned, a condition that will need to be corrected by your dentist. The teeth may settle in different ways as adolescence progresses and a teen’s bite may become different.
Wisdom Teeth Issues
Some people don’t get their wisdom teeth until they’re out of their teenage years however, some adolescents will start getting their wisdom from around age 17 onwards. Some issues could be pain associated with a wisdom tooth, an impacted wisdom tooth or a misaligned wisdom tooth. Along with pain in some instances, when wisdom teeth are establishing themselves, they can cause swollen and sensitive gums in the area of the tooth. At times, wisdom tooth removal may be necessary.
Dental Care for Teenagers
Children’s dental development and the impact of puberty on a teen’s oral health can lead to issues, but these are all treatable and often preventable. Let’s look at some treatment options and advice for teenage dental problems.
Regular Check Up and Teeth Clean
To ensure ongoing good oral health and to detect any issues early on, it’s important to take your teenager to the dentist for regular comprehensive checkups and teeth cleaning. Not only will this go a long way in preventing issues and maintaining oral health, but your dentist will also be able to offer advice for your teenage son or daughter on looking after their teeth. Teeth cleaning and checkups are important components of children’s dental development.
Treatment for Gingivitis and Periodontitis
If your child has developed gingivitis or periodontal gum disease, it’s vital to book them an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible. At Admire Dentistry, we provide Periodontal Therapy. It involves removing dental calculus and plaque from the teeth. The result obtained would be reduced inflammation and the healing process can begin. Depending on the severity of gum disease, several visits may be required to resolve the problem.
Teenagers often get lax on their oral health and are renowned for eating food and drinking liquids that may not be great for their teeth and gums. This can result in cavities developing and possibly even a toothache. Admire Dentistry will treat any cavities either by removing the decay and filling the tooth, or a tooth extraction if decay in the tooth is too far gone.
Children’s dental development can result in the teeth becoming misaligned, particularly at the onset of puberty. We can correct misaligned and crooked teeth by fitting braces or night aligners.
Brushing and Flossing
While it can sometimes be a struggle to get teenagers to do things that are good for them, regular encouragement to maintain good oral hygiene certainly can’t hurt. Simply by looking after their teeth through consistent brushing and flossing, issues surrounding oral health can be avoided during those adolescent years.
Get a Checkup and Clean at Admire Dentistry
Admire Dentistry specialises in dental health and treatment for people of all ages and we understand the specific issues that can affect a teenager’s oral health during children’s dental development. If you have one or more teenagers in your household, be sure to book regular appointments for comprehensive checkups and teeth cleaning, as well as provide timely advice for adolescents on good oral hygiene.