Teens and the Breath

girl covers her mouth with her handsIt’s not easy being a teenager. Acne. Cliques at school. Difficult teachers. Essays. Calculus.

And that occasional rancid breath.

Yes, if you have a teenager in your household in Edison or Timbuktu, odds are you’ve gotten a whiff of, how shall we say, less than pleasant breath. Everyone thinks it’s their teenager being a lazy brusher, but bad breath is common in teens.

Let’s get into that in this pre-daffodil March blog.

Why your teenager has bad breath

First off, bad breath is anything but unusual, in everyone. A meta-analysis of various research found the worldwide prevalence of halitosis to be 31.8%. That means a third of the people bopping around this world have yucky breath. That’s kind of disturbing. Still, next to an acne breakout, the potential of having dragon breath is terrifying to the average self-conscious teen.

Here are some causes.

  • Poor oral hygiene — OK, you did guess this one. If your teen’s room looks like Hurricane Sandy blew through, he or she may not also be so attentive in oral hygiene. Bacteria in our mouths are always there, and they feast on leftover food and drinks. When they consume the sugars in these, the waste products they leave behind make for bad breath. That’s why brushing twice a day for two minutes is so important, along with flossing once. This attentive brushing and flossing remove the bacteria/plaque that is sticking to your teeth and making sour breath.
  • Food choices — Sugary sodas and starchy snack foods can lead to some seriously offensive breath. The bad-breath bacteria named above love sugar and starches more than anything. This means those Doritos and Mountain Dew after-school combos are keeping that bacteria in hog heaven.
  • Braces and retainers — Want to make the perfect trap for food and bacteria? Put a retainer or braces on your teenager’s teeth. While doing their good work moving and then keeping the teeth in place, orthodontic stuff can make it very difficult to clean the teeth adequately. Floss threaders or water irrigators can help get the job done.
  • Early gum disease — In some teens, their bad breath is a sign of worse things to come in his or her oral health. That’s because their lack of good home hygiene has allowed plaque and tartar to take up permanent residence on their teeth, and now they are pushing up under the gum line. That’s the beginning of gum disease. Bad breath is one of the first warning signs of gum disease. That’s another reason to be sure to keep your twice-yearly professional cleanings and exams with Drs. Strober/Butkofski/Hiess and our hygienists — we can spot the early signs of gum irritation and alert the authorities, well, alert your teenager to what’s going on.

OK, so now you know your teenager’s bad breath isn’t the Lone Ranger. But it’s not a given. Some extra guidance on maintenance habits and seeing us twice every year can keep their bad breath to a minimum.

Is it time for your next appointment? Call us at Gentle Dental, (732) 549-5660 to schedule your appointment.

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