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Key Points
 
Nearly 80% of 17-year-olds have had at least one cavity in their lifetime.
 
Frequent snacking and regular exposure to acidic drinks such as soda are common risks for caries in adolescents.
 
A review of oral hygiene practices, diet, and fluoride intake is important at all routine visits.
 
Fluoride supplementation should continue until age 16 for all eligible children.
 
Gingivitis is very common among adolescents.
 
Laxity in oral hygiene results in plaque accumulation, which triggers an inflammatory response.
 
Bleeding with brushing or flossing is the most common symptom of gingivitis.
 
Periodontal disease is very common among adolescents.
 
Periodontitis is the number one cause of tooth loss in adults.
 
Pubertal hormonal changes, hormonal contraceptives, and pregnancy all increase the risk of developing periodontitis.
 
Tobacco use significantly increases the risk for development of periodontal disease.
 
The risk for oral trauma increases in adolescence.
 
Substance abuse, risk-taking, and violence are risk factors for oral trauma that increase during adolescence.
 
Adolescents who participate in athletics should be counseled to wear protective mouth gear for games and practices.
 
26% of high school students in the United States report some tobacco use.
 
Tobacco use promotes calculus formation, which in turn, increases the risk for periodontal disease.
 
All forms of tobacco are carcinogenic.
 
8.9% of all high school students used smokeless tobacco.
 
Methamphetamine use can cause rapid progression of caries in a distinctive pattern - a condition known as meth mouth.
 
Marijuana use promotes the development of gingivitis, periodontal disease, and cancer.
 
All forms of tobacco can cause oral cancer.
 
The oral examination in adolescents who use tobacco should include an exam for early signs of oral cancer.
 
Leukoplakia may be a precancerous lesion and should be examined by an oral health professional.
 
The use of tobacco products and cessation options should be discussed at all routine health care visits.
 
The American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommend against all oral piercings.
 
The most common procedure-related risks are swelling, bleeding, and infection.
 
Oral piercings commonly injure the gums, tongue, or teeth.
 
Allergic reactions to the metal in piercings and grills may be delayed.
 
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