Key Takeaway

  • Dental care basics are the same for everyone. But teens have different dental care needs compared to adults and seniors.
  • Teens are exposed to more risky oral health trends such as piercing and smoking. These can be serious detriments to long-term oral health.
  • Regular visits to your dentist, daily brushing and flossing, and a healthy diet should help your teeth last a lifetime.

For teenagers, the basic rules apply but they’re also in the age range for braces, so it’s extra important to have good dental care habits. Teens face additional challenges that can impact their oral health.

Wisdom Teeth

These molars in the back of the mouth usually appear between the ages of 17 and 21, although they can begin causing problems as early as age 13. Your dentist can tell whether your wisdom teeth have enough space or if they should be removed.


The increase in female hormones can raise the blood flow to the gums. This can change the way gum tissue reacts to bacteria (plaque) and inflammation. The gums can sometimes bleed during brushing and flossing.

Grills and Tooth Jewels

Grills are usually removable metalwork that fits over teeth. Tooth jewels are glass crystals or gold and are glued to teeth and can stay attached for as long as a year.

Both these cosmetic treatments can result in inflammation of the gums and other mouth irritation. Talk to your dentist first about the safest choices and proper care and cleaning.

Oral Piercings

Oral piercings such as tongue or cheek piercings can produce infections, uncontrollable bleeding, nerve damage and can cause gums to recede. Metal jewelry can also chip or crack teeth. Talk to your dentist first about the safest choices and proper care and cleaning.

Smoking and Vaping

Smoking and vaping can have a serious impact on your oral health. They can:

  • Stain your teeth and gums.
  • Contribute to bad breath.
  • Increase your risk of developing oral cancer and gum disease.

There are also oral health risks related to smoking or vaping cannabis. If you smoke or vape, let your dentist know. They need to monitor your oral health and keep a close eye on any inflammation and changes in your mouth.

Eating Disorders

Vomiting associated with eating disorders causes tooth decay, gum disease, and the loss of tooth enamel. Your dentist can treat your teeth, but if you think you have an eating disorder, it is recommended that you speak with your physician about it.