Today’s teenagers are getting a significant less amount of sleep than they should, according to medical professionals. Sleep is not a luxury. It is an absolute necessity – especially when it comes to your child’s health. Pediatric dentists have now established that failure to obtain a good night’s rest is highly detrimental to a teenager’s oral health.

Teenagers that fail to get the proper amount of sleep may develop certain types of oral health problems – especially with the gums and the jaws. These issues may result in further complications as the child ages.

On average, a teenager should be getting approximately eight hours of sleep each night. Anything less than this, and problems are sure to develop.

High Risk of Periodontitis

Periodontitis is the development of deep pockets that are located between the teeth and the gums. This is an exceptionally serious gum disease that has the unique ability to damage the soft tissue of the mouth and completely destroy the bone that aids in the support of the teeth.

The symptoms of this condition include – but, are not limited to – the following: swollen and irritated gums, receding gums, the development of gaps between the teeth, bad breath, loose teeth, and a very bad taste in the mouth. When periodontitis develops, the teeth may start to shift. This, in turn, results in the loosening of the teeth.

Research performed by the Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine concluded that individuals that sleep fewer than eight hours each night are at a higher risk of developing this oral health problem.

Increased Mouth Inflammation

In addition to being at risk of developing periodontitis, teenagers that do not get enough rest each night are also at a higher risk for developing inflammation throughout the mouth. When the body does not get the appropriate amount of rest, it actually triggers various factors that lead to inflammation – particularly in the gums.

A study conducted by the Emory University School of Medicine established that when the body is not well-rested, hormones that result in the development of inflammation are activated. This, in turn, could lead to the development of the gum disease, gingivitis.

Teenagers need a sleep routine. While most parents do attempt to create a sleep schedule in the home, the gadgets that teens use – particularly mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets – are keeping kids awake throughout the night.

All electronics should be put away at least one hour prior to a teen’s bed time. Mobile devices that send alerts should be either deactivated, silenced, or completely turned off during the times when the teen should be sleeping.

In addition to this, your teenager should see a pediatric dentist on a regular basis for check-ups and cleanings. The dental professional will be able to determine if any oral health complications are occurring in the mouth and, if so, will be able to immediately set up treatment for those issues.

If you would like more information on how to ensure your teen’s oral health is optimized, contact Richmond Pediatric Dentistry today at