Is Your Teen’s Sleep Being Affected By Poor Dental Health?

Adequate sleep is essential to the healthy development of any child, and your teenager is no exception. Limiting your child’s consumption of caffeine, reducing screen time, and establishing an exercise routine can contribute to increased sleep duration. However, there may still be certain factors preventing your child from sleeping properly that remain unaddressed. As any family dentist will tell you, poor oral health could be one of those factors. Learn more about the impact of dental health on your teen’s sleeping patterns by continuing below.

The Connection Between Poor Dental Health and Inadequate Sleep

Oral health issues can be disruptive. If you’ve ever dealt with toothaches or swollen gums, you know how much those issues can actively disrupt your focus. Concentrating on any task is difficult when pain is radiating from inside your mouth.

Unfortunately, our kids are not immune to those issues. They are susceptible to numerous dental health issues and their unpleasant consequences. Those consequences include inadequate sleep. According to a study published by BMC Oral Health, adolescents with less than six hours of sleep presented a greater risk for toothaches. Those same adolescents who had shortened sleep schedules also reported pain and bleeding in their gums. Those with poor sleep quality also said they had dealt with toothaches and pain while chewing.

Note that toothache and gum problems are not the only health issues associated with poor sleep quality in teenagers. The study also revealed that tongue and buccal mucosa pain could be indicators that a teen is not getting enough sleep. The same thing can be said about halitosis.

While we are focusing on teenagers here, you should know that younger children also experience these same issues. A study published by the National Library of Medicine states that 33% of children aged between eight and 10 years old experienced sleeping troubles related to dental health. The children also self-reported those sleeping troubles.

The connections between sleep quality and dental health are undeniable. If your child has talked about oral health problems recently, chances are they’re also having trouble sleeping. Sleep quality can affect numerous aspects of your child’s life, so you must remedy that situation immediately. Coming up with ways to improve their dental health with the help of your family dentist can positively affect their sleep quality and daily life.

The Remedies for Your Teenager’s Poor Dental Health and Sleep Quality

How can you improve your teenager’s oral health and sleep quality? The good news is you’re not lacking options to consider. Below, we’ll highlight different ways you can improve your child’s dental health.

Schedule Regular Exams and Cleanings With a Family Dentist

The idea of a child never seeing a dentist may seem downright impossible to many of us. Sadly, it’s also the reality for a few households. According to the CDC, 3% of adolescents aged 12 to 19 have never had a dentist appointment. You cannot let your child become a part of that statistic.

Start scheduling regular check-ups with a family dentist so your child can stay on top of their dental health. Everyone should have dental exams at least once every six months, as they are critical for detecting oral health issues as soon as possible. Develop that routine early on so your child can carry it into their adult years.

The same timeline works for your teenager’s dental cleanings. You should schedule those cleanings at least once every six months to prevent the buildup of potentially harmful bacteria. Only one dental cleaning every six months at a family dentist office is recommended if your child has no existing issues. Increasing the frequency of those exams may be necessary depending on their oral health.

Offer Dental Hygiene Reminders

Teenagers tend to have a bit of a rebellious streak in them. As a former teenager yourself, seeing that quality in your child shouldn’t be that surprising. While you can understand your child’s desire to assert their independence, offering them some support won’t hurt. Providing some reminders about dental hygiene can even prove quite helpful.

Simple reminders about brushing or flossing at the right times can help your child develop better habits. Soon enough, they may not need your reminders to remember when they should brush or floss. Instilling those habits as early as possible is critical. Thanks in part to those reminders, your child can diligently maintain their hygiene habits even if they are living elsewhere.

Encourage Your Child to Adopt a Healthy Diet

The type of diet you have can have an enormous impact on several aspects of your health. Weight and resistance to illnesses are not the only aspects of a person’s health that are affected by diet. Your diet can also determine your ability to avoid dental health problems. With that in mind, it’s clear that you need to put more thought into your child’s meals.

Examples of foods that you should integrate into your diet include fiber-rich fruits and vegetables. The fiber content in those fruits and vegetables is useful for cleaning teeth and gums. The nutrients they provide can also improve dental health. Dairy products also contain minerals that can strengthen teeth.

When it comes to drinks, nothing beats fluoridated water for maintaining dental health. Tea is a good option if your child prefers a drink with more flavor. Green tea, in particular, can prevent bacteria growth inside the mouth.

Those are the items that belong in your teenager’s revamped diet. You should also discourage them from consuming certain treats that can harm their teeth and gums. Examples of those treats include candies and soft drinks. Starchy foods can also be bad for dental health because they offer fuel for oral bacteria.

Have Your Child Wear a Mouthguard During Athletic Competitions

Kids get more into their hobbies and interests when they become teenagers. Now that your child is old enough, they may be planning to join the school team for their preferred sport. Your child taking an interest in a sport can be a huge positive for their long-term health. Their oral health may not be as fortunate.

Accidents can happen whenever kids play sports. A bad collision or errant hit could lead to your child sustaining significant tooth damage. Preventing that should be your priority, and mouthguards should help. Tell your child to wear a mouthguard whenever they’re competing so they can avoid tooth damage from accidents.

Teach Your Child About the Dental Issues Caused by Smoking

Lastly, you can help maintain your child’s dental health and sleep quality by telling them about the dangers of smoking. Smoking is one of the most harmful habits your child can pick up from the perspective of dental health. Taking up that habit can increase your child’s risk of developing tooth decay and gum problems.

It’s important to teach your child early about the consequences of smoking cigarettes. Do that as early as possible so you don’t lose out to bad influences. Your family dentist can also determine if your child has been smoking recently. That’s just one more reason to schedule regular dentist appointments.

Improving your teenager’s dental health also has positive effects on their sleep quality and physical development. Follow the tips above to ensure your child can enjoy good oral health into adulthood. You can also work with us if you’re seeking assistance from an experienced family dentist. Contact Bright Side Dental today; we’ll provide the support your child needs!

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