As a teen or young adult, your mouth and teeth face a number of challenges. Sugary foods and drinks, alcohol, tobacco and both legal and illegal drugs all cause damage to your teeth and gums.
This interactive presentation illustrates the effects of sugar on your body, including your teeth.
Oral health risks
Constant snacking during the day can put you at risk for developing cavities, especially when choosing treats high in sugar, or foods that stick to your teeth.
Soft drinks, sports drinks and even juice contain high amounts of sugar that cause damage to your teeth. But it's not just sugar-induced tooth decay that you have to worry about. All soft drinks – even the sugar-free ones – contain acid that erodes tooth enamel.
Alcohol contains sugar and acid that can damage your teeth and gums and leave your mouth susceptible to infection and decay. Alcohol abuse also puts you at a higher risk of developing mouth and throat cancer.
Smoking is the leading cause of oral cancer and it can also mask the signs of disease in your mouth making it difficult for your dentist to see when there's a problem.
Oral piercings pose a number of risks and may cause damage to your mouth, including chipped teeth, damaged gums, swelling and nerve damage.
Prevention - what you can do
- Take care of your teeth. Brush twice a day with a soft toothbrush, it is especially important to brush before bed. Floss daily.
- Limit the amount of sugary foods and drinks you consume.
- Consider the choices you make for your dental and overall health.