“Youth is wasted on the young,” is generally attributed to George Bernard Shaw. While there is some dispute about the attribution of the statement, there is no dispute about its veracity.

And just as true is that young people often don’t appreciate the value of their teeth, not until they’re gone and it’s time for dentures. Here are all the ways that young people tend to take their teeth for granted.

A man’s hand holding a cigarette


When you’re young, smoking seems cool. First, it’s forbidden, and then when it’s allowed, it still has a certain edginess to it. The establishment says smoking is bad for you, and everyone tells you not to do it (especially lifelong smokers), so, of course, it seems like a cool thing to do.

There’s a certain air of contempt of death that comes with smoking, but it’s also a contempt of teeth, because they suffer greatly for your nicotine fix. Smoking not only stains your teeth, but it significantly increases your risk of tooth loss by a factor of three or more.

And I hear you saying, “What about ‘vaping’”–all the kids are doing it these days. Same stuff different generation–vaping may be a gateway to tobacco smoking, may be linked to oral cancer, and it may even blow up in your mouth.


“Taking candy from a baby” is seen as a bad thing, but it’s really not. Sure, the kid may cry today, but they’ll be smiling tomorrow–with a full set of teeth.

Sugary foods are the ultimate indulgence for little id monsters, always needing something now and never thinking about the consequences. Other than the gratification of their sweet dreams, there is little redeeming about candies and much to dislike from an oral health perspective.

Sugar feeds the parasitic bacteria in our mouths, increasing the risk of tooth decay, gum disease, and tooth loss. And don’t even get us started on diabetes…

Acidic Drinks

Acidic drinks like soda are even worse than sugary treats, partly because they are often sugary themselves, and because they don’t require oral bacteria to create tooth-damaging acids–they’re already acidic.

Acidic drinks are partly just a delivery system for other things that young people want. Like sugar, caffeine, artificial colors, and “electrolytes.” But these drinks don’t just deliver all that stuff to your stomach, they take a little bit of your teeth with them every time you take a sip.


Oh, and we forgot to mention that acidic drinks are often just a delivery system for alcohol. Whether you’re drinking rum & coke, 7 & 7, gin & tonic, or wine & beer, you’re not just getting alcohol, you’re getting a generous dose of acid, too (plus, as we mentioned, tooth enamel…)

And then the alcohol itself is very damaging to your oral health. Excess alcohol consumption is associated with an increased risk of gum disease, which can lead to tooth loss. Alcohol dries your mouth, making it more hospitable for oral bacteria. And a drinker is more likely to skip brushing and flossing after a binge. That’s partly because you probably feel like sticking anything in your mouth is likely to make you lose the last of your control. Vomiting is very damaging to your teeth and gums, and if you drink to excess very often, you’ll find it’s damaging your oral health.

Poor Maintenance

And then there’s the issue of maintenance. Is two minutes twice a day to brush your teeth too much to ask? Apparently, for many teens and young adults, their schedule is just too busy to fit that in, let alone five minutes to floss. And take time for a dental appointment? Fuhgeddaboutit.

Combine poor maintenance with all the above habits, and you’re looking at the potential to do serious damage to your teeth when you’re young. It may take many more years for your teeth to actually be lost, but for most of us, the seeds of tooth loss are sown when we’re young.

What If You Could Do It All Again?

Now let’s get real: who among is isn’t guilty of at least a few of the above sins?  And many of us end up paying the price when we’re older. Now, with the eyes of experience, it all seems so clear: that extra two minutes a night just was not worth it to skip brushing our teeth. And soda may have been sweet back then, but the taste of an infected tooth is foul.

If only we could go back in time and take the steps necessary to preserve our teeth for a lifetime. Unfortunately, it takes more than a Delorean and some stolen plutonium to accomplish that.

But you can have the next best thing: a whole new set of teeth.

Implant dentures aren’t like the dentures that should’ve served as a warning when you were young. They’re fully fixed in your mouth, just like natural teeth. You can chew all your favorite foods, though maybe you’ve learned your lesson about saltwater taffy.

And with FOY® Dentures, you’ll be able to turn back the clock more than a little. By restoring your face to its youthful proportions, FOY ® Dentures can give you back a little bit of that lost youth. And this time, you’ll know better than to waste it!

If you want to rejuvenate your smile even if you’ve lost your teeth, please call (803) 781-9090 today for an appointment with a Columbia, SC denture dentist at Smile Columbia Dentistry.