Recently published research shows that teenagers who stay up late are up to four times more likely to require dental fillings than those who have an earlier planned bedtime.
The study published in the International Journal of Dental Hygiene basically states that teens who stay up later than their parents often do not brush their teeth before falling asleep.
We would also predict that they are drinking soda and eating other sugary snacks right up until the moment of sleep as well. Even the best of us have probably done this.
The research study also mentions that these teens wake up later and skip breakfast. This may lead to increased snacking during the day, and more missed opportunities to brush.
The best-case scenario is getting a good night’s sleep and brushing before bed. Working to that goal, parents should also encourage choosing water as a beverage and switching to healthy snacks like carrot sticks, apples, and popcorn with little or no butter and salt.
Dr. Mark Dawoud adds that adolescents need between 9 and 9 1/2 hours of sleep, but the average amount of sleep is about two hours short. This article has additional results of lack of sleep above and beyond the dental ones, and offers some parental suggestions.