Growing Bodies, Eroding Teeth
At a time when teenagers need high-density nutrition for their growing bones and bodies, what they often consume is energy drinks, sodas, fast food, chips, and other high fat, high sugar foods. When diets high in sugar and fat replace fruits and vegetables, the results are not good. One in seven teens are overweight and thus at risk for diabetes. While diabetes indirectly leads to gum disease and tooth loss, poor nutrition should not be overlooked as a major cause of tooth decay during the teen years.
Premature loss of tooth enamel and weakening of overall tooth structure are two devastating oral effects of teens’ poor diet that cannot be reversed later in life,” — Jane Soxman, DDS, in General Dentistry
Education is the best way to start good oral health habits and to make needed changes for the sake of healthy teenage mouths. With this in mind, teenagers and adults should remember that drinking sodas and eating a diet high in refined foods puts us at risk to develop cavities and other dental problems. As another caution, drinks high in phosphoric and citric acid break down tooth enamel and reduce calcium absorption in bones. These drinks are especially detrimental to teenage girls. By age sixteen, girls have acquired over 90% of their bone mass, making a healthy and well-balanced diet essential. Yet, only a small fraction of teenage girls get the recommended 1,300 milligrams of daily calcium in their diets.
How to Have a Smart-Mouthed Teenager
It’s a foregone conclusion that most teenagers eat pretty much what they want, when they want and a lot of it. So, what can be done to offset the bad effects of a typical teenage diet? Here’s how a teenager can have a smart, healthy mouth:
- Hydrate with water, not soda.
- Fruits and veggies should make up half of their daily food intake.
- Limit daily sugar and refined starches.
- Brush and floss at least twice daily.
- Don’t pierce your tongue, lips or mouth, and especially not your teeth!
When parents set a good example by having a well-balanced diet and caring for their own oral health, there’s a good chance that their teenagers will do the same. To help out, our Placerville dentists are committed to giving you and your family quality dental care. Make it a semi-annual “family tradition’ to visit the Placerville Dental Group to maintain your best oral health! To make an appointment for yourself or your teenager, dial 530-295-8000, use our website to contact us or stop in our office at 699 Main Street, Suite B, in central Placerville.