Yes, a bright beautiful smile begins with regular dental visits for cleanings and general check-ups. But, most of us are completely unaware that some of our habits may be adversely affecting our dental health. Small things – things we don’t even notice we do regularly can reduce the durability of your teeth. Let’s spotlight several of them now, and take this on as May’s “UN-Do It Yourself” project.
- Brushing Too Hard – Vigorous “scrubbing away” can actually cause tooth decay, irritate your gums and increase your teeth’s sensitivity. Make sure you go easy and use a soft bristled brush or an electronic toothbrush.
- Using the Wrong Things to Clean Your Teeth – You’re at a restaurant, and a food particle gets stuck in your teeth. DON’T reach for a toothpick, paper clip, piece or paper – these can cause gum and tooth damage. Make sure to carry floss or an interdental cleaner with you.
- Grinding Your Teeth or Clenching Your Jaw – The stress of everyday life causes many of us to grind or clench. Not only does this cause tooth fractures and jaw pain, it can also lead to headaches. If this happens at night while you sleep, let’s discuss fitting you with a night guard to cushion teeth and reduce impact on your jaw. If this happens in the daytime, gum chewing might help.
- Biting Nails, Chewing Ice or Pens – Besides causing small splinters and cracks in your teeth, biting any foreign object can introduce bacteria into your mouth and cause infection. Stop the Chomp!
- Your Teeth Are Not Tools – How often do we try to bite open a package? Even biting off a thread from a shirt can cause micro cracks that could lead to more serious structural damage.
- Drinking Soda, Sports Drinks and Alcohol – Limiting consumption of these beverages is beneficial on so many levels. Sports drinks and soda contain acid and sugar that feed bacteria and erode enamel. Alcohol also contains acid that produces similar effects. And, alcohol dries out the mouth. Reduced saliva production allows bacterial and plaque to thrive.
- Tobacco – We all know what smoking does to lungs and our general well-being, but I need to stress how harmful tobacco is to your teeth. Nicotine not only yellows teeth, it can also cause oral cancer. Chewing tobacco is even more deadly, as carcinogens directly contact gum tissues.
Bad habits are easy to get into, hard to get out of. But, when you do, it’s a great reason to smile. Let’s work on “Un-Doing” our bad dental habits!