Ask the Dentist: Blunt truth about teens' teeth

Teenagers from more affluent homes are more likely to have worse teeth because they tend to take more fizzy drinks, says Lucy Stock of Gentle Dental Care in Belfast

The drip, drip, dripping of fizzy drinks causes teeth to erode...
The drip, drip, dripping of fizzy drinks causes teeth to erode...

HANG on to your Marks & Spencer undergarments, Bravo Tango Niners - a new study has highlighted those children of more affluent parents are more likely to have dissolved teeth.

Dissolved teeth are never a good scenario, molars go from having beautiful Himalayan-style peaked cusps to rounding off smoother than a blunt-nosed dolphin.

Blunt teeth simply don't work in the mouth. Foods are more difficult to smash apart, tooth sensitivity starts spiking, and general discomfort creeps through the mouth musculature because the lock and key fit of teeth has melted away.

This, coupled with slow smile disintegration as the attractive white enamel is worn down to reveal the dingy yellowness of the dentine underlayer, adds up to unfun times for anyone.

The study focused on teenagers and looked at 65 studies from 30 different countries taking in over 63,000 participants.

They concluded that adolescents whose parents have higher levels of education or income or where the child attends private school demonstrated significantly worse levels of tooth wear.

This may seem counterintuitive as you would rightly think that richer parents can afford better dental care. The sting in the tail comes from just that, the more money floating around the more access the children have to fizzy drinks, sports drinks and fruit smoothies.

Drip, drip, dripping of fruit or fizzy drinks throughout the day drops the acidity in the mouth and causes teeth to erode. It happens a lot more easily than people imagine.

It can be awfully difficult for people as there are so many hidden sugars and acids in our modern diet that our bodies are not designed to be able to deal with.

The body registers each and every time a food is consumed even if a food is small in size.

Like eating a bunch of grapes over 12 hours is worse than eating the bunch all in one go, as the mouth is reduced to a state of acidity for the entire 12 hours instead of 20 minutes.

So, to improve your teen's teeth reduce how often they have 'the bad stuff' and encourage swapping from flavoured drinks to plain water.