Excessive computer use linked to poor oral health in teenagers

August 14, 2019

Three hours of computer use each day is enough to put teenagers at risk of poor oral health says a new study revealed by the Drayton dentists Debbie Paramani and Vasiliki Stamatoukou at Drayton Dental Care in School Road.

An examination of more than 1,500 18-year-olds showed those who spend more time on computers (e.g., for internet and computer games) are significantly more likely to neglect their oral health. In England, nearly a half (46%) of 15-year-olds and a third (34%) of 12-year-olds have obvious signs of tooth decay.

Researchers found those who spent longer on a computer were less likely to brush their teeth, floss and visit the dentist. The results are particularly worrying for boys, where twice-daily brushing dropped below 50% for those with excessive computer use.

Further findings discovered that youngsters with excessive computer use are up to 25% more likely to suffer from bleeding gums, and almost twice as likely to be absent from school because of dental pain.

Vital daily brushing routine

  • Brushing for two minutes last thing at night and at one other time during the day with fluoride toothpaste is key to maintaining good oral health.
  • Daily brushing is important because it removes plaque. If plaque isn’t removed, it continues to build up, feeding on the bits of food left behind and causing tooth decay and gum disease.
  • Cleaning in between our teeth, using interdental brushes, dental floss, water or air flossers, loosens bacteria and food debris.

Further findings from the study revealed the longer teenagers spend on a computer, the more sugar they consume.

The amount and frequency of fizzy drinks, juices with added sugar and snacking all increased for those with more than three hours of computer time a day. These adolescents were also more likely to skip breakfast and eat less fruit and vegetables.

Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease for children in the UK and it is caused by having too much sugar. By cutting out snacking and keeping sugar consumption to mealtimes, teeth are able to recover and are far less prone to tooth decay. Replacing sugar with healthier options should also be highly encouraged. Fizzy drinks cause a real risk and should be replaced with milk or water as tooth-friendly alternatives.

Concerned about your teenager’s oral health?

Please contact us as our door is always open to new patients and their children from across Drayton, Norwich and beyond.

Drayton Dental Care

10 School Road, Drayton
Norwich, Norfolk, NR8 6DN

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