Life as a teenager has changed significantly over recent decades. Some of the activities teens engage in today can have effects on their health that they may not realize. As a typical high school junior living in Rhode Island, Justin loved baseball and other activities that are popular among teens. See if you can spot the habits that take a toll on Justin’s smile.
A Typical Saturday in the Life of Justin, a High School Junior
Growing up in Rhode Island, Justin’s sport of choice was baseball. He loved playing in the Little League and continued his passion for the sport well into high school. The majority of his friends came from his baseball team, and it was common for them to hang out at the field on Saturday mornings, usually with a can of chewing tobacco being passed around as is popular with the pros they look up to. Justin didn’t consider it a major problem since he just started dipping this year. Besides, he didn’t use it as often as some of his buddies.
After a morning of baseball, Justin was exhausted. He called his girlfriend Tracy to see if she wanted to get lunch at their favorite local restaurant, and she agreed. As they sat in the same booth they always sit in, Justin ordered the usual: Mushroom and Swiss Burger with a large soda. Justin loved this place because he gets tons of food for the price and they refill his sodas for free – it was common for him to have three or four Cokes in one sitting.
Although he knew about a party happening that night, Justin didn’t feel like drinking and decided to bring his laptop to the local cafe instead. The place had a cool ambiance, great coffee options, and most importantly, free wi-fi. Justin felt that he didn’t like black coffee, but he loved the White Chocolate Mochas made by his friend Jessica who was a barista there. She joked that she made it special for him, giving him the “hook up”. That meant a full extra serving of white chocolate syrup, making the drink tempting enough to keep him coming back each week.
As Justin settled in for the night, he looked at himself in his bathroom mirror at around 9:30 that night. He noticed his teeth appearing more yellow than he would’ve liked but didn’t think about it as he reached for his toothbrush. With the first stroke of the toothbrush against his teeth, he put his other hand to his mouth. “Ouch! What the heck, man?” Justin exclaimed in pain. Not sure if he’d gotten a cavity, he decided to ask his mom to make him an appointment at their family dentist.
3 Habits that Led to Justin’s Cavities
Justin made a lot of different decisions throughout his Saturday, but only three of them were detrimental to his oral health.
1. Justin Used Chewing Tobacco with His Friends
Whether smoked or chewed, using tobacco is one of the absolute worst habits you can have for your oral health. Chewing tobacco comes with short term and long term side effects that can jeopardize your ability to chew properly, and eventually, can threaten your life. Although Justin thought of his habit as minor because he wasn’t as heavy a user as his friends, even standard use of chewing tobacco can wreak havoc on your smile,
2. Justin Had a Habit of Drinking Multiple Cokes at Lunch
Available in many fun flavors, drinking soda seems like a harmless habit. But with all the sugar in regular sodas and acid in diet sodas, consuming soda is among the worst things you can do for your teeth. Sugar and acid both take a toll on your enamel and can lead to decay and cavities. Many restaurants do give free refills on soda, so teens like Justin can consume over 100g of sugar in a single sitting without even realizing it. Choosing water, tea, or black coffee instead would be a far healthier option.
3. Justin Frequently Visited the Cafe
Cafe culture has become huge in America. Just about every city has a local cafe that serves various types of coffees and specialty drinks, often accompanied by pastries and a cool ambiance. Choosing black coffee would be fine, but like many people, Justin opted for the sugar-loaded White Chocolate Mocha each and every time. From the syrups to the whipped cream, every part of this drink took a toll on Justin’s teeth.
Which of Your Habits Is Affecting Your Smile?
Every day we make a wide range of choices, and some of them may be affecting our health or the health of our gums and teeth. It’s important to reflect on our habits and ensure that they’re not causing unforeseen oral health problems down the line. If you’ve experienced a toothache or are simply ready to schedule your biannual dental appointment, don’t hesitate to contact Dr. Eric George in Coventry, RI.