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Teen habits can damage dental health
Updated: 6/24/2008 12:00:44 PM

Parents may ensure children take good care of their teeth, but once they reach their teenage years, their oral health in largely their own hands.

As a result, some young adults undo the good work that was done with regular tooth brushing and braces when they were younger.

For some, that may simply involve taking less care over oral hygiene or eating more sugary snacks.

There are also however a number of teenagers who experiment with piercing of the tongue or lip, which researchers at Tel Aviv University have found can be very damaging to dental health.

Dr Liran Levin from the university's Department of Oral Rehabilitation conducted a study that found that 15 to 20 percent of teens with oral piercings are at high risk for both tooth fractures and gum disease.

He warned that the resulting tooth fractures and periodontal problems can lead to the loss of front teeth later in life.

Dr Levin's advice to parents is: "Try where possible to dissuade your teen from getting a piercing. They will thank you when they are older."

The Academy of Dentistry also stresses that it is important to get children into good oral health habits from a young age.
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