A recent study published in the Daily Mail claims that teenagers who stay up late are at a higher risk for dental problems such as tooth decay. The British Journal of Dental Hygiene study found that teens who stay up later than their parents had quadruple the risk of cavities than their earlier resting peers.
The journal findings are thought to be because children who go to sleep later than their parents and peers are less likely to brush their teeth before heading to bed. Teens who stay up later are also more likely to consume sugary drinks and snacks after their parents have gone to sleep. The study found that children who go to sleep later can also have trouble waking up the next morning, and often miss out on a healthy breakfast because they are rushing out the door. Missed breakfast can in turn cause children to make less than healthy snacking choices throughout the day-with many school snack options high in sugar and acidity.
With recent studies in the US blaming dental problems on staggering amounts of missed school last year, cavities have become a very serious health issue stateside as well. Dentist Dr. Stephen Hill of Allen, TX says you should encourage your night owl to brush his or her teeth before heading off to bed for the night. "Remind him or her that whatever they eat will stay on their teeth while they sleep, which can cause cavities," Dr. Hill cautions. "Also, I’m sure this won’t be a popular idea with your teenager, but if they’re having trouble waking up in the morning and getting a healthy breakfast, you may want to look at what time they’re heading to bed and make necessary adjustments." Furthermore, Dr. Hill suggests that if you cannot prevent your teen from consuming junk food after you’ve gone to bed, limit the amount of sugary drinks and snacks you bring into the home- especially if they have abundant access to it at school.