While people can get cavities at any age, those in their teenage years are particularly vulnerable. With exposure to new people, places, and experiences, teens can pick up habits that have a devastating effect on their smiles. See how the choices of Gina, a high school senior near Havre De Grace, MD resulted in declining dental health and gum disease.
Growing up in Maryland, sports were very important to Gina. Having a mom who was a volleyball coach at the local high school exposed her to the sport at an early age. When Gina wasn’t staying busy with sports, she was keeping up with her friends, many of which she knew since childhood. As Gina prepared to enter her last year of high school, she decided she’d finally play varsity volleyball: “This is going to be my year” she thought to herself.
Making the varsity volleyball team wasn’t going to be easy – especially with her mom being the coach. Gina knew she’d have to train harder than the other girls and she came prepared every time. For hydration, she preferred water over sugary sports drinks. She was always hungry before a workout, so for an extra boost, she’d have her favorite women’s protein bar, a lemon-flavored Luna Bar. It tasted great and with the vitamins and protein content, it seemed like a perfect pre-workout snack.
When returning for her senior year of high school, Gina noticed a major new trend among her peers. Vaping had become popular and it seemed like students of all types were sneaking puffs of this invisible new form of tobacco. It wasn’t long before Gina was offered a spare vaporizer from one of her friends along with strawberry flavored nicotine oil for vaping. “It’s so much better than cigarettes, and we even have your favorite flavor!” her friend exclaimed as she took a puff of her own.
Gina stayed busier than most students, but when she relaxed, her favorite place to chill was in the local cafes that were becoming popular in Hartford County. She’d bring her laptop, and order a Caramel Macchiato every time. While reading her social media sites and doing homework, she’d sip her coffee drink and thought it was a perfect atmosphere.
As the tryouts drew near, Gina began noticing pain in her mouth and gums. While she tried to tough it out each time, the people who cared about her noticed – especially her mother. After telling her mother she’s fine for the fifth time, her response was final: “If you don’t go to the dentist and get that toothache taken care of, there’s no way you’re trying out for my team!”
Various aspects of teenage life contain pitfalls that can wreak havoc on their smiles without them even knowing it. From her passion for sugary protein bars to her love of local cafes, Gina’s choices were gradually contributing to her gum disease. See how these three choices led Gina to develop gingivitis.
Vaping causes nicotine in vapor form to enter the bloodstream through the patient’s mouth. Nicotine is a vasoconstrictor, meaning it restricts blood flow to the gums, thereby causing your gums to recede. With receded gums, Gina was much more susceptible to developing gum disease.
While Gina’s favorite protein bar was marketed to women for its protein and vitamins, the fact is that it had more sugar than protein. The taste was excellent, but the effect on her teeth was that they became coated in cavity-causing sugar with every bite.
The only harm black coffee will pose to your teeth is potential staining, but a cafe offers far more options than black coffee. If Gina ordered her favorite coffee beverage at the most popular cafe in the country, it would contain 33g of sugar. When ingesting that much sugar becomes a daily habit, it can take a major toll on your smile, causing gum disease and other problems.
From vaping to overindulging in sugar, many activities can contribute to gum disease. If you’re experiencing soreness or inflamed gums, you may be developing gingivitis. It’s important to treat gingivitis early before it grows into periodontitis and can cost you your teeth. If you’re near Hartford County in Maryland, contact Family Implant & Reconstructive Dentistry. Dr. Grubb and his team will give you the smile you deserve.