Top Teen Habits That Can Put Teeth At Risk

dentist for children

Though many teenagers are able to maintain their oral health, late nights and bad habits might result in your teenager neglecting their regular dental care routine.

After all, as your child progresses into the throes of teenage-dom, they might start to search for independence in new ways. Between the pressure exerted on them from their peers and an often chaotic social life, brushing their teeth twice per day is the last thing on their mind. But some terrible habits have the potential to follow them into adulthood, putting them at risk for oral health concerns in the long term.

If you notice your teen engaging in any of the following habits, don’t hesitate to reach out to your dentist for children and teens.


Smoking cigarettes is one of the worst habits for your oral health and many life-long smokers begin their journey toward tobacco as a teenager. According to the American Cancer Society, almost nine out of 10 smokers started this habit before they turned 18. Worse yet, nearly three in four high school smokers will continue smoking into adulthood.

Cigarette smoke has the potential to encourage gum disease, yellow teeth, bad breath, and worse. In particularly bad cases, smokers have also experienced jaw bone loss and oral cancers. Even with other healthy habits, like brushing twice per day, your teen might still experience the deleterious affects of smoking. Encourage your teen to stay away from cigarettes and be honest with them when they start this harmful habit.

Nail biting

Though nail biting typically starts at an earlier age, many teenagers indulge in this habit as high school progresses. Between coping with harder exams at increasing volumes, the threat of college, and trying to juggle social and work responsibilities, it’s only natural that they find relief in bad habits like nail biting.

Unfortunately, regular nail biting can alter the alignment of your teeth and promote splintering and cracking in your tooth’s enamel. This can result in sensitive teeth or other painful conditions that only a dentist for children and teens can handle. If you notice your teen biting their nails, try to suggest other ways to relieve stress like going for a walk or getting them a stress ball. Nail polish and regular nail trimming can also deter your teen from biting their nails in the first place. With more than a little luck, they can become one of the many people who give up this habit before it gets out of hand (err, nail).

Teeth grinding

Another sign of a stressed-out teenager is teeth grinding. Unfortunately, you might not notice your child is grinding their teeth until the ill side effects start to show. This is because it often happens at night when your child isn’t even aware it’s happening.

Jaw pain, headaches, and tooth pain are all common symptoms of this frustrating condition. If you’re concerned that your teen is grinding their teeth, be sure to bring them into a dentist for children and teens for an X-ray. This can confirm your fears and enable you to start preventing the harmful effects of teeth grinding.

A similar condition to grinding is clenching. This is common in teens who start to develop anxiety disorders around this time. Clenching during stressful situations is typical, but too much stress can encourage clenching around the clock. While this isn’t as harmful as grinding, your dentist for children will tell you that this action can promote similar symptoms to grinding.


Your athletic teen loves to play, but their oral health might suffer when their mouth collides with a shoulder or football. Without the proper mouth guards and safety precautions, your teen might have to cope with loosened teeth, cracked enamel, and even jaw issues. The risk is heightened even more if they play a contact sport like football, hockey, or even basketball. If your teenager loves to go out onto the field or court, be sure to get their teeth checked at the pediatric dentist regularly.

Your teenager may not know it, but some of their bad habits can lead to the long-term damage of their oral health. If you notice your child suffering from any of these bad habits, be sure to talk to Smilez Pediatric for advice and information today.