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Concern for Teens and Young Adults

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I was startled to see the current teen fashions at the mall, recently. This is definitely “in”. I have had patients in my practice who are bulimic or anorexic, but they rarely put this on their medical history. Sometimes, I can spot someone who vomits frequently by the condition of the back of their front teeth. These eating disorders need to be addressed with professional counseling, but I also have my own methods. I show photographs of people, not my patients, who have had these disorders for a length of time. I use them to educate those who don’t believe that anything will harm them.

Another phenomenon of our teen population is a fascination with “fresh breath”. They chew gum, suck on mints, or gulp soda pop into their mouths several times a day. From my perspective, they are repeatedly painting their teeth with sugar. As an alternative, removing plaque between teeth with dental floss and brushing the tongue goes a long way to achieving fresh breath.

Finally, I have to point out that tongue and facial piercings, now popular, have displaced gum tissue or damaged perfectly healthy teeth. They also serve as collection centers for bacteria that contribute to gum disease.

All I can ask is that parents establish guidelines for healthy and safe behaviors, plus enforce them. Your kids will thank you, eventually.

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