The adolescent body clock makes mornings a struggle. The acts of waking up and getting out of bed can seem like Herculean tasks – so it is little wonder that fitting in breakfast before stumbling out of the house is, for one in five teenagers, one achievement too many. However, new research published in the International Journal of Dental Health will likely make young adults sit up to attention: evidence shows that teenagers are almost twice as likely to suffer from smelly breath when they have missed breakfast.
Why is breath affected by a missed meal?
A question often asked of the dental hygienists at our central London specialist dental practice is: ‘I clean my teeth, I don’t eat smelly food yet my breath is unpleasant – why?’ Saliva helps us digest food and keeps bad breath away. While we are asleep, we don’t need so much saliva, so our salivary glands decrease its production – hence the presence of ‘morning breath’ on waking. Breakfast is important in that the act of chewing helps stimulate the salivary glands, beginning the odour-reducing work once more. Furthermore, breakfast acts as an aide memoire for many people: a trigger to brush their teeth afterwards. Without this, there is a greater chance of leaving the house with the toothbrush untouched.
Oral health is especially important for teenagers
Suffering from malodorous breath as a teenager can have a significant impact on social interaction, complicating what is already a turbulent time for many young people. Furthermore, the foundations of good oral hygiene should be laid in these formative years, avoiding the path that leads to self-consciousness about one’s smile. Tracy Tang is a highly qualified dental hygienist who specialises in teenage oral care. Tracy runs a Saturday morning clinic at our specialist dental practice in central London, giving preventative advice and treatment, encouraging teenagers to take control of their dental health from an early age.