Puberty is the stage that brings many changes to boys and girls. Puberty in girls usually begin at around 10 to 11 whiles boys are a bit late at 11 to 12. In general, this stage often takes 5 to 6 years, in which children’s reproductive organs and sexual characteristics emerge to maturity.
Hormone levels rise, voice changes, bodies and muscles develops, sexual attraction starts and an overall increase in consciousness on self-image and appearance reveals. Along with this general changes, their oral health can also be affected.
How Hormone Changes Affect Their Dental Health
Hormonal changes during puberty often affects girls and as such, parents should give oral care utmost concern. Hormones such as estrogen and progesterone trigger changes in the girls’ bodies. Such sex hormones during puberty stage can cause a number of dental issues including puberty gingivitis, characterized by bleeding and swelling of gums.
The onset of menstruation causes an increase of hormones that encourage the growth of oral bacteria. In fact, many girls and even boys during puberty experience symptoms of gum sensitivity and gingival bleeding.
Some adult women still experience menstruation gingivitis before their menstruation start. Menstruation gingivitis symptoms include swollen, tender, red gums and mouth sores. Improper oral cancer can worsen these symptoms.
Increase in certain hormones can also increase microbial growth, which is the reason why cavities and bad breath are quite common among adolescents.
Other Issues on Oral Health
As children grows and permanent teeth starts to erupt, they may experience changes in the appearance of their mouth, including the shape of their bite. By the time puberty sets in, most of the adult teeth already surfaced. This is the time when certain orthodontic treatments usually begin.
One of the most important concerns for children with braces is the need to maintain proper oral care carefully. Due to the extra attachments on the teeth, there are many corners for food bits to stick to, causing dental carries.
Proper tooth brushing and having regular dental visit for professional cleaning are very important to prevent the development of carries.
Tooth staining is very common among teens. This is due to changes in diet and consumption of dark soda and tea.
How to Manage the Impact of Puberty on Oral Health
During puberty stage, many adolescents face many struggles, primarily on their emotional and social aspects. Peer pressure, increased self-consciousness to self-image and identity crisis can affect a child’s focus on proper dental care.
Good oral care can make a positive impact on an adolescent’s self-image. Parents should reinforce healthy dental practices through regular brushing and flossing and having proper nutrition. The puberty stage is often the time when a young person faces many changes in his/her life. This is also a great time to practice good dental care habits that they will follow for the rest of their life.