Youth Trends and Oral Health

Looking at current trends and potential long term effects on teeth and gums.

Defining youth can be quite difficult these days, with barriers between age groups perhaps less significant than they once were. That said, it is still in the more ‘youthful’ sections of society that trends and experiments tend to dominate.

Below, the dental team at the Confidental Clinic in Purley take a look at how some of these trends might have an impact on the person’s oral health, both in the short term, and the long term.

Smoking and e-cigarettes

Starting with one of the most obvious trends here which is the seemingly increasing use of e-cigarettes. The jury has been out on these as far as health issues are concerned for some time. However, a recent report by Public Health England has said that these are 95% safer than regular tobacco based cigarettes. Given the damage that cigarettes can do to your oral health; particularly increasing the risk of gum disease and oral cancers, it seems that, if you really can’t stop altogether, then switching to e-cigarettes may be a good move.

It should be borne in mind though, that the potential long term harm caused by these products is relatively unknown and stopping altogether would be preferable.

Oral piercings

Although not a new trend, piercings of the tongue, cheek and lips seem to be an increasingly common sight in Purley. Whilst, unlike tattoos, these can easily be removed if and when the person decides; damage can be done in the meantime. As well as possible infection in the area of the piercing, one of the most common oral problems with these piercings is that of chipped, and on occasion, broken teeth.

Whilst the chips caused are usually relatively minor, they can leave sharp edges which cut into the soft tissues of the mouth. These can then easily become infected. Chipped or broken enamel also exposes the softer inner part of the tooth, allowing bacteria to enter. In time, dental decay will occur that will need a filling, a crown, or possibly an extraction if not treated early enough.

Some chipped teeth may be restored using a composite bonding material, whilst more significant chips may need a cosmetic treatment such as dental veneers to restore the appearance of the damaged tooth.

DIY braces

Thankfully, we have seen little evidence of this at our Purley dental practice, but, it seems that some teens have been sharing, via social media, how to make DIY dental braces using rubber bands and other everyday items. It goes without saying that this can only result in a failed experiment, and one that the person is probably going to find painful too. With modern orthodontic treatments such as Damon braces and Invisalign offering discreet teeth straightening treatment; to take the DIY route is completely unnecessary and potentially very damaging to oral health.

If you have chipped a tooth or would like to find out more about our dental braces, please call the Confidental Clinic on 020 8660 8923.