Have a young night owl at home? Look out for their teeth!

Here at 543 Dental Centre we’re always reminding our younger patients that avoiding sweets and brushing with a fluoride toothpaste can help prevent tooth decay. Now recent research* has shown there’s another risk factor to be aware of – late nights.

We sometimes spend so much time and energy worrying about our children’s teeth when they’re little that, once they start to grow up, we’re happy to let go and just assume they’re taking care of their teeth. Sound familiar?

Unfortunately, as children grow into adolescence and start to stay up later at night – sometimes even later than their parents – their good habits can fall by the wayside. When they’re going to bed after you, you’re not there to remind them to brush their teeth. Also, the later they stay up, the more likely they are to be ‘too tired’ by the time they head for bed to make a brush stop in the bathroom. So all the bacteria that have accumulated throughout the day will be free to feast on their enamel all night long – a dental disaster!

Another contributing factor is that, when they inevitably wake up later than they should, they often run out of the house without eating breakfast. This has a number of health consequences, including that it encourages snacking during the long wait for lunch. Snacking means that teeth are exposed to acids over a long period, as opposed to being limited to mealtimes.

At 543 we understand that teenagers can sometimes be rebellious, but we do encourage you to impress upon them the importance of maintaining good dental hygiene. If the prospect of losing teeth to decay seems too remote to their sense of invincibility, then perhaps appealing to their vanity might be more successful. A few ideas to help you:

– Brushing your teeth regularly helps prevent bad breath

– Brushing and flossing prevent the build-up of unsightly plaque and tartar

– Skipping breakfast and snacking can cause weight gain and spots

And if your children are still young, please make sure a good dental hygiene routine is an integral part of their day. Having good habits ingrained at an early age is key to maintaining them when adolescence tries to lead them astray.

Troubled about your teen’s teeth? Call 01482 565488 or book online for a dental hygiene appointment to get them back on track.


* Lundgren A, Öhrn K, Jönsson B. Do adolescents who are night owls have a higher risk of dental caries? – a case-control study. Int J Dent Hygiene. 2015;14(3):220-225.