Teen dental health is in an odd position of sorts, partially because no one talks about it much. Teendom is that awkward spectrum where you’re lumped up with the kids or squeezed in with the grown-ups. But much like adults and children, teens do have their own unique oral health issues beyond either group. As such, we must discuss these too.
When talking about teens, “transition” is the key term to note. You go from child to adult in your teenage years, both literally and figuratively. Aside from the physical changes your body undergoes, during this time, you also go through foundational experiences that ease you into the challenges of the adult world. The same thing goes for their dental issues. Dental health for teenagers, then, involves both physical and psychosocial elements.
What, then, are the issues that plague teen dental health?
Oral piercings may look cool, but they take a toll on your dental health
When you’re finding your way through adulthood, it can feel like you’re continually going through a series of trial and error. It’s no wonder, then, why most teens tend to experiment during this time—particularly with their bodies. As such, tattoos and body piercings are quite popular at this age.
Oral piercings, in particular, have grown in their popularity for their different appearance and aesthetic. They do have their risks, though—and while teens who do get oral piercings are old enough to know how to take care of them, the risks are all the same.
For one, the mouth is typically full of bacteria, so any oral piercing will be liable for infection. Because of this, you’ll need to make sure that the piercing is clean always. In extreme cases, it can lead to hepatitis. And because the piercing is on a sensitive membrane, you’re liable to get more injuries in that area as well.
Another risk is the damage it can do to your teeth. Because these piercings close to the teeth, it’s easy to injure your teeth on piercings consciously or unconsciously. Similar to grinding your teeth, constant chewing on your facial piercing could turn minor tooth cracks into something more significant, leading to an infection of the pulp. That said, if you’re a teen who does have an oral piercing, you’ll need to take extra care of your pearly whites.
A teen’s hormones may affect the state of their mouth
During your teenage years, your hormone levels begin to fluctuate as your body prepares for adult functions. In women, for instance, the fluctuation of progesterone and estrogen could bring increased blood flow to the teeth, causing their gums to become swollen. In men, low testosterone could mean a higher vulnerability to oral diseases.
Knowing this, then, teens might need to take heed of those seasonal oral ailments, as they may be a sign of hormone fluctuations. While their teeth and gums may return to normal after the change, if their oral health is weak at the time, it might be harder to bounce back. It’s during these times, then, that you might want to double down on your oral care.
Can Toothpaste Cause Pimples?
Take a look through the web nowadays, and you’re bound to find a billion ways to get acne. From the things you eat to the things you do, almost everything seems to trigger a breakout. Common knowledge might tempt us to break out the salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide acne treatments. But another school of thought states that we try limiting whatever causes our acne in the first place. But, sometimes, the trigger can come from the most unusual of places—like toothpaste. But can toothpaste cause pimples, actually?
This might be a surprise for a lot of people. Toothpaste, after all, is probably one of the most common spot treatments for acne. The thought of it actually being a trigger, then, feels counterintuitive. But as it turns out, there is some backing to this. Some ingredients in toothpaste might contain chemicals that cause skin irritation, like sodium lauryl sulfate and essential oils.
Aside from the ingredients in toothpaste, however, can toothpaste cause pimples in other ways? Let’s find out.
#1 If you wash your face before you brush your teeth, you could be bringing your acne risk up
When it comes to the old brush and floss, the order matters just as much as doing it. Previously, we talked about how flossing before you brush your teeth can reduce the amount of dental plaque on your teeth significantly. Especially as opposed to the other way around.
You can say the same thing goes for brushing your teeth and washing your face. While a select few can brush their teeth without much of a mess, the rest of us experience drippage. When this happens, we don’t just expose our skin to the ingredients in toothpaste. In essence, we expose it to the bacteria coming from our mouths. If you find that most of your pimples surround your mouth, then this might be the reason. And it might be the answer to, “Can toothpaste cause pimples?”
Fortunately, the solution is relatively easy. After you brush your teeth, wash your face right after to get rid of any bacteria and skin-irritating toothpaste ingredients. You might jsut find your mouth pimples lessening over time.
#2 Using toothpaste as a spot treatment could be doing you more harm than good
Remember when every magazine and home-remedy video told you to put toothpaste on your pimples? The time when toothpaste was a convenient at-home spot treatment? Well, I have news for you—it might actually be doing you more harm than good.
Toothpaste, in itself, can be very harsh on your skin. And when it comes to treating acne, inflammation plays a significant role. Self-induced skin irritation then is probably the most counterproductive way to solve your pimple woes. Instead of reaching for the good old tube, it might be better to find other solutions, like a clay mask or a facial.
#3 Check the ingredients in your toothpaste
Some ingredients in your toothpaste can make your skin more susceptible to acne and other skin ailments. The use of sodium lauryl sulfate, for instance, can clog up your pores. Hydrogen peroxide and alcohol, on the other hand, can dry out your skin and make it more susceptible to bacteria.
Bottom line? Check your toothpaste ingredients before making a purchase. Otherwise, invest in a skincare routine that balances out the effects.
Tips for a Perfect Teen Smile
#1 Stick to a good oral hygiene routine
It’s cliché, but it’s true that prevention is better than a cure. The same goes with oral health. There is no better way to get that perfect smile than to practice good oral hygiene including brushing at least twice a day for two minutes, flossing, rinsing with mouthwash, and visiting the dentist twice a year. A good oral hygiene routine helps in preventing plaque build-up.
#2 Eat healthy
Eating proper and nutritious meals will always be important in keeping our overall health in check. Nutrition for the teeth can be acquired by eating the right food and avoiding those that are harmful to your mouth’s well-being. Foods such as cheese, carrots, celery, and apples are better options than snacking sugary foods. Choose foods and drinks with antioxidants, fluoride, and calcium for stronger teeth.
#3 Seek dental treatments
Dentistry has improved through the years, and treatments have become more accessible. If you have poor jaw alignment and crooked teeth, subscribe to orthodontic treatment. At present, there are various options available for your needs and wants. You may also seek professional teeth whitening if your teeth are stained or if you aim for a boost in your teeth’s appearance.
#4 Avoid smoking
Smoking is dangerous to your health. It can cause cancer and lung problems. Smoking or chewing tobacco is also a big no-no for your oral health as it causes tooth and gum discoloration, plaque calcification, and bad breath.