When your children were young, there were a lot of things you tried to keep out of their mouths -- small toys and household objects, balloons and chemical cleaners. The list seemed endless. And, when the time came, even thumbs and pacifiers were phased out as oral favorites. Now that they're teens -- just a few short years from adulthood -- you might not realize that what your kids put in their mouths can still present dangers to their health and safety.
Because oral hazards for teens usually don't take on the threat of an emergency -- such as choking or poisoning -- they're more likely to occur under a parent's radar. However, they can still cause serious damage. Teens' unhealthy oral behavior can lead to a number of problems, including damaged teeth and gums, weight gain, car accidents, cancer and even cardiac arrest. So if your teen is engaging in any of the following oral habits, it's in his or her best interest to stop right away. In fact, it's not a stretch to say that, in some cases, it could even be a matter of life or death.