It’s likely that the average teenager these days finishes school and logs into their computer at home.
In many ways this makes perfect sense. Today’s teenagers have a whole world of information available that they can access from the comfort of their laptop or computer. There are thousands of things to do online which not only allow them to socialise with their friends, but also do so in a way that can be more exciting than anything the real world could offer. From videogames to social media, the online world is full of opportunities, and these can be difficult to ignore.
It’s also worth noting that regardless of your interests, passions, sexuality or spheres of knowledge, there is always going to be likeminded individuals to speak to online. This can provide a necessary and life-affirming escape for teenagers who are stressed in real life.
The danger to oral health
According to figures published by the Oral Health Foundation, three hours of computer use a day is enough to put teenagers at risk of poor oral health.[i] Considering the average teenager can spend as much as nine hours in front of screens in one day, this shows that there is cause for alarm.[ii]
The findings indicate that teenage boys, in particular, are in more danger of bad oral health as a consequence of computer use. Those who excessively spent time online were found to have twice-daily tooth brushing rates of below 50%.
Another thing brought to attention from this article was that those who do use computers excessively are also more likely to consume a larger volume of sugary drinks and snacks. Typically, snacking when playing videogames or browsing the net means reaching for something that requires no time away from the screen. This inevitably ends in consumption of crisps and other unhealthy snacks that require no cooking.
Furthermore, energy drinks are a popular choice for people who game online, and these have long been known to have alarming amounts of sugar in them. In fact, some of the most popular energy drinks can contain as much as 16 teaspoons of sugar in just 500ml.[iii] Whilst these drinks are now illegal to sell to under 16s, that doesn’t mean that teenagers over this age will stop drinking them, and we all know that even those younger than this age will be able to access these drinks through their parents or older friends buying them for them.
The advice they need
Teenagers need to be reminded of the importance of oral health, especially as their teeth are still relatively new and should remain healthy for years to come. Brushing twice daily with a fluoride-based toothpaste is essential, and it is also a good idea to encourage them to snack more healthily if they want to keep spending extended time in front of the screen.
For further information please call EndoCare on 020 7224 0999
[i] Oral Health Foundation. Excessive Computer Use Linked to Poor Oral Health in Teenagers. Link: https://www.dentalhealth.org/news/excessive-computer-use-linked-to-poor-oral-health-in-teenagers [Last accessed July 19].
[ii] Quartz. Even Teens are Worried They Spend Too Much Time on Their Phones. Link: https://qz.com/1367506/pew-research-teens-worried-they-spend-too-much-time-on-phones/ [Last accessed July 19].
[iii] The Sun. WAR ON SUGAR The Energy Drinks that Contain up to 16 TEASPOONS of Sugar – as Campaigners Call for a Ban on Them Being Sold to Under 16s. Link: https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/5163772/the-energy-drinks-that-contain-up-to-16-teaspoons-of-sugar-as-campaigners-call-for-a-ban-on-them-being-sold-to-under-16s/ [ Last accessed July 19].