Each phase of life comes with it’s common dental concerns, and the teenage years are no different. These formative years are when people are at their most impressionable and when it’s more important than ever to emphasize good habits, like an excellent brushing and flossing routine for example. Many activities teens participate in make an impact on their smile. See what mistakes Taylor made in his senior year that jeopardized his oral health.
Taylor Lives it Up His Senior Year but Ends Up with Cavities
Attending his first three years of high school in Allegheny County, Taylor was pretty reserved, earning straight A’s every year. While this looked great on his transcripts, Taylor felt he was missing out on some of the more memorable aspects of his high school experience. As he drove home from his last day of 11th grade, it was final – Taylor decided he would live it up the following year. He’d try out for the sports team, hang out with who he wanted, and get a part-time job for extra cash although his parents preferred he focus on school.
Getting his first job was easier than he thought. Taylor grew up going to a local diner near Gibsonia, so to finally be there as a waiter was a surreal experience. He couldn’t complain about the pay, and best of all, they’d often let him take home a pie from the kitchen after his shift. Considering himself as in excellent shape, Taylor figured “why not?” and accepted the extra dessert every time.
Taylor thought it would be harder to make the basketball team his senior year as well. He grew up playing pick up games with friends in his neighborhood and at 6’2, was already taller than 90% of the team. Taylor loved the challenge and exhilaration of games and ensured that he had plenty of Gatorade and Power Bars to replenish himself during practice. He loved playing sports so much, he wondered why he didn’t try out the first three years.
Another aspect of having his first job was that Taylor was being exposed to new people – and new habits. Wanting to join the rest of the staff on breaks, Taylor noticed that a few of his coworkers were smoking behind the restaurant. He thought that the old Taylor would look the other way, but as adventurous new Taylor, he felt the urge to try it. As the weeks went by, Taylor looked forward to his 18th birthday when he could buy cigarettes for himself.
What 3 Decisions Harmed Taylor’s Teeth?
As Taylor engaged in behavior that’s typical for an American teen, he didn’t realize that several of his choices were harming his teeth. Explore what those decisions were and how they could have been handled differently with respect to his oral health.
1. Taylor Indulged in Pie Daily at His First Job
Sweets and desserts are fine in moderation and when supported by excellent oral care at home. But when the cooks started looking to Taylor to take their extra pies on a daily basis, it set Taylor’s smile up for failure. Indulging in desserts and sweets bathes your teeth in sugar, and consuming sugary foods often drastically raises your chances of developing cavities. Instead, Taylor could have limited his consumption of sugary pies, choosing fresh fruits and veggies for the health of his smile.
2. Taylor Chose Sports Drinks and Health Bars
Sugar is found in a surprising range of products, ranging from BBQ sauce to beef jerky. Although sports drinks and health bars are marketed as a godsend for athletes, usually this couldn’t be further from the truth. The sugars inherent in most of these products will not only cause your energy levels to crash, but they’ll wreak havoc on your teeth. Had he replenished with water and sugarless snacks instead, his teeth would’ve been better for it.
3. Taylor Developed a Habit of Tobacco Use
Each day in the United States, more than 3,200 youth aged 18 years or younger smoke their first cigarette. While some of those kids will just try it once, many others, like Taylor, will turn tobacco use into a habit. From a dental standpoint, there is no worse habit for your teeth than smoking or chewing tobacco. Tobacco negatively impacts your smile in so many ways that avoiding it altogether is strongly recommended.
Help Your Teen Make the Best Dental Decisions
By understanding the circumstances that are likely to affect your teenager, you can give them advice that sets them up for success. That impressionable age is the most important time to emphasize the importance of oral health and how their decisions affect it. If your teen does end up with cavities or a toothache, bring them in to Smile! Dental Center for top quality care. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Foust.