Ensuring younger generations are set for life

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  Posted by: Dental Design      15th April 2022

By taking the time to implement invaluable oral health habits early in life, individuals can enjoy a healthy, functional smile throughout the years. Not only this, but they will maintain good attitudes regarding the importance of oral health.

As adolescents enter the stage of their life where they crave their own independence, monitoring the foods and drinks they consume, as well as whether they’re effectively brushing their teeth, can be challenging. As a dental professional, it’s important to equip your patients with ways they can help their families better care for their oral health, especially for those in the crucial development stages of their life.

What’s the cause?

As children grow into the adolescent stage, the quality of their oral health may decrease.[i] A definitive reason has yet to be established, but some explanations could include a lack of education and/or direction regarding oral health habits during childhood, or bad dietary and general hygiene habits.

Cancer Research UK calculated data from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey 2016[ii] and found that those aged between 11 and 18 drink, on average, almost a bathtub full of sugary drinks year. The effects of sugary and acidic drinks on oral health are well known; combined with other behaviours that are prevalent amongst adolescents, such as drinking,[iii] smoking and a lack of exercise,[iv] this could put them at a higher risk of oral health issues in their adult life.[v]

As research[vi] has shown dental caries to be a common risk in orthodontic treatment, adolescents undergoing orthodontic therapy may need a more tailored approach to care, both in practice and at home.[vii] Alongside improving general lifestyle habits, researchers recommended the use of electric brushes and appropriate mouthwashes and toothpastes to optimise the control of dental biofilm.vii

The influence of the influencers

A recent study[viii] noted that most of the adolescent participants preferred using social media to obtain oral health information. This may not be true for every individual, but it’s still a cause for concern, as information sourced from social media is not always fact-checked and can be based purely on opinions and experience. This is especially true for many social media influencers, who are paid to promote and advertise a range of products.[ix] One study found that middle adolescents, aged 15-16, may be better able to recognise the persuasive intent of sponsored influencer content compared to early adolescents, aged 12-14.

Social media may also set unrealistic expectations in adolescents, which could affect their self-perception and increase dissatisfaction in their appearance.[x] With easy access to individuals online, or in films and television, who flash the ‘perfect’ smile, adolescents could adopt an unhealthy and inaccurate attitude towards the appearance of their teeth. For instance, they may believe that straight, bright teeth equal healthy teeth which, of course, is not necessarily true. This may prompt them to seek ways to improve their smile, which could be through damaging content, such as the ‘DIY dental hacks’ that circulate on social media, promoting dangerous practices that could lead to serious oral health complications.[xi]

Parents may struggle monitoring what their children do online, but by giving your patients the right tools and advice, they can better educate and empower their children to make appropriate, and safer, decisions regarding their oral health.

Mental health

Certain challenges faced by adolescents, such as fitting in, performing well at school, peer pressure and bullying, can cause undue stress on an individual. The effects on their overall health are generally known, but what about other areas, such as their oral health? One study[xii] found that children and adolescents who experience bullying may be at a higher risk of developing bruxism, subsequently putting them at a higher risk of further oral health issues, such as gingival damage, enamel erosion and tooth sensitivity.[xiii]

Furthermore, dental anxiety has been shown to be a prevalent, worldwide issue in 3 to 18-year olds;[xiv]research[xv] has noted that dental anxiety may cause children and adolescents to be uncooperative during dental visits, if they attend at all. This can make performing treatment, or even a simple check-up, arduous for the dental professional. Predictably, this can be detrimental to their oral health, both short and long term.

Establishing ways that children and adolescents can confidently care for their oral health is made challenging when they’re experiencing mental concerns that push their oral health on the backburner.

Empower younger generations

Issues caused by poor oral health, such as caries or tooth sensitivity, can be difficult for many individuals, but it’s vital that the younger generations know not only how to prevent these issues, but how to manage them when they do occur. Offering advice and guidance on toothbrushing techniques, or even recommending a clinically-proven toothpaste, can be a great place to start. The Arm & Hammer Sensitive Pro Baking Soda toothpaste offers up to 16 weeks of pain relief with 8 weeks of regular use. The stellar ingredient baking soda provides patients with a deep, gentle clean, helping to promote a neutral pH level to aid in the prevention of caries. Plus, with patented Liquid Calcium™ technology, exposed nerves are sealed and protected, helping to reduce unpleasant tooth sensitivity. The Arm & Hammer Sensitive Pro Baking Soda toothpaste is an accessible option for patients looking for best way to care for their oral health at home.

By aiding young people to establish a foundation of good oral health early in life, they can enjoy optimal oral health for all the years to come. 


For more information about the carefully formulated Arm & Hammer toothpaste range, please visit https://www.armandhammer.co.uk/ or email: ukenquiries@churchdwight.com 

Arm & Hammer oral healthcare products now be purchased from Boots, Amazon and Superdrug, with further stockists following.



Dental hygienist and therapist Michayla Morris, graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2010. Alongside working full time as a dental hygiene/therapist in central London, she also works for waterpik as a professional educator. She has recently completed a BSc in Dental studies at the University of Central Lancashire and is due to start a MSc in Global health and development later in the year. 


[i] Leary, S.D. and Do, L.G. (2019). Changes in oral health behaviours between childhood and adolescence: Findings from a UK cohort study. Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology, [online] Available at: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/cdoe.12475. Accessed 14 Jan. 2022.

[ii] Public Health England (2016). NDNS: results from Years 5 and 6 (combined). [online] GOV.UK. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/ndns-results-from-years-5-and-6-combined. Accessed 14 Jan. 2022.

[iii] www.drinkaware.co.uk. (n.d.). Teenage drinking | Drinkaware. [online] Available at: https://www.drinkaware.co.uk/advice/underage-drinking/teenage-drinking. Accessed 14 Jan. 2022.


[iv] Association for Young People’s Health. (n.d.). Key Data on Young People 2019. [online] Available at: https://www.ayph.org.uk/key-data-on-young-people. Accessed 14 Jan. 2022.

[v] Heilmann, A., Tsakos, G. and Watt, R.G. (2015). Oral Health Over the Life Course. [online] PubMed. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27683931/. Accessed 14 Jan. 2022.

[vi] Kozak, U., Sękowska, A. and Chałas, R. (2020). The Effect of Regime Oral-Hygiene Intervention on the Incidence of New White Spot Lesions in Teenagers Treated with Fixed Orthodontic Appliances. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, [online] Available at: https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/17/24/9460/htm. Accessed 14 Jan. 2022.

[vii] Walsh, L. and Healey, D. (2019). Prevention and caries risk management in teenage and orthodontic patients. Australian Dental Journal, [online] Available at: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/adj.12671. Accessed 14 Jan. 2022.


[viii] El Tantawi, M., Bakhurji, E., Al-Ansari, A., AlSubaie, A., Al Subaie, H.A. and AlAli, A. (2019). Indicators of adolescents’ preference to receive oral health information using social media. Acta Odontologica Scandinavica, [online] Available at: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00016357.2018.1536803 [Accessed 13 Jan. 2022].

[ix] van Reijmersdal, E.A. and van Dam, S. (2020). How Age and Disclosures of Sponsored Influencer Videos Affect Adolescents’ Knowledge of Persuasion and Persuasion. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, [online] 49(7). Available at: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10964-019-01191-z. Accessed 13 Jan. 2022.

[x] Wiederhold, B.K. (2018). The Tenuous Relationship Between Instagram and Teen Self-Identity. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, [online] Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29624448/. Accessed 14 Jan. 2022.


[xi] Warning over “dangerous” DIY beauty trends on TikTok. (2020). BBC News. [online] 26 Aug. Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-53921081 Accessed 13 Jan. 2022.

[xii] Alonso, L.S., Serra‐Negra, J.M., Abreu, L.G., Martins, I.M., Tourino, L.F.P.G. and Vale, M.P. (2021). Association between possible awake bruxism and bullying among 8‐ to 11‐year‐old children/adolescents. International Journal of Paediatric Dentistry. [online] Available at: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/ipd.12789. Accessed 14 Jan. 2022.


[xiii] Najafi, S., Faraji, Z. and Roudgari, H. (2020). Article review on hereditary factors of Bruxism (a literature review). Journal of Craniomaxillofacial Research. [online] Available at: https://publish.kne-publishing.com/index.php/JCR/article/view/4503/4622. Accessed 14 Jan. 2022.


[xiv] Grisolia, B.M., dos Santos, A.P.P., Dhyppolito, I.M., Buchanan, H., Hill, K. and Oliveira, B.H. (2020). Prevalence of dental anxiety in children and adolescents globally: A systematic review with meta‐analyses. International Journal of Paediatric Dentistry. [online] Available at: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/ipd.12712. Accessed 14 Jan. 2022.


[xv] Gao, X., Hamzah, S., Yiu, C.K.Y., McGrath, C. and King, N.M. (2013). Dental Fear and Anxiety in Children and Adolescents: Qualitative Study Using YouTube. Journal of Medical Internet Research, [online] Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3636260/. Accessed 14 Jan. 2022.


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