Oral hygiene is very important. In addition to a pretty smile, having strong and healthy teeth is important. Without proper brushing and flossing, your mouth can become a breeding ground for germs. But there are other bad habits as well that can damage your teeth.
You use your mouth for many different things other than chewing food. People often engage in certain habits involving the mouth that are detrimental to their oral health. You should be careful about bad things that you do with your teeth; following are our top 10.
- Chewing on Ice: It’s natural and sugar free, so you might think ice is harmless. But munching on hard, frozen cubes can chip or even crack your teeth. And if your mindless chomping irritates the soft tissue inside a tooth, regular toothaches may follow. Hot foods and cold foods may trigger quick, sharp jabs of pain or a lingering toothache.
- Fruit Juice: Fruit juice is loaded with vitamins and antioxidants, but unfortunately most juices are also loaded with sugar. Some juices can have as much sugar per serving as soda. For example, there are only 10 more grams of sugar in orange soda than in orange juice. Fruits are naturally sweet, so look for juice that has no added sugar. You can also reduce the sugar content by diluting juice with some water.
- Brushing Too Hard: People usually think that by applying more pressure while brushing, or using a hard-bristled toothbrush makes teeth shinier. This is a myth and should be avoided. When you brush too vigorously or use a hard-bristled toothbrush, it can wear away the protective enamel on your teeth. It can also lead to receding gums and increased tooth sensitivity (to cold and touch). Choose a soft brush and use gentle circular strokes for best results.
- Playing Sports With No Mouth Guard: Whether you play football, hockey, or any other contact sport, don’t get in the game without a mouth guard. Without it, your teeth could get chipped or even knocked out when the action gets rough. Self-fitting mouth guards may be purchased at a store, or you can have one custom made by your dentist.
- Cough Drops: Just because cough drops are sold in the medicine aisle doesn’t mean they’re healthy. Most are loaded with sugar. So after soothing your throat with a lozenge, be sure to brush well. Whether the sugar comes from a cough drop or a hard candy, it reacts with the sticky plaque that coats your teeth. Then bacteria in the plaque convert the sugar into an acid that eats away at tooth enamel.
- Gummy Candy: All sugary treats promote tooth decay, but some candies are harder to bear. Gummies stick in the teeth, keeping the sugar and resulting acids in contact with your enamel for hours. If your day just isn’t the same without a gummy critter, pop a couple during a meal instead of as a separate snack. More saliva is produced during meals, which helps rinse away candy bits and acids.
- Soda: Candy isn’t the only culprit when it comes to added sugar. Sodas can have up to 11 teaspoons of sugar per serving. To add insult to injury, sodas also contain phosphoric and citric acids, which eat away at tooth enamel. Diet soft drinks let you skip the sugar, but they may have even more acid in the form of the artificial sweeteners.
- Opening Stuff With Your Teeth: Opening bottle caps or plastic packaging with your teeth may be convenient, but this is one habit that makes dentists cringe. Using your teeth as tools can cause them to crack or chip. Instead, keep scissors and bottle openers handy. Bottom line, your teeth should only be used for eating.
- Smoking: Cigarettes, as well as other tobacco products, can stain teeth and cause them to fall out as a result of gum disease. Tobacco can also cause cancer of the mouth, lips, and tongue. If you were looking for one more reason to quit, think of your smile.
- Drinking Coffee: Coffee’s dark color and acidity can cause yellowing of the teeth over time. Fortunately, it’s one of the easiest stains to treat with various whitening methods. Talk to your dentist if you’re concerned about discoloration of your teeth.
These are just 10 of many things you may be doing to damage your teeth. Call our office today to schedule an appointment and let’s get your teeth back on track in 2013.