You know the ins and outs of a good oral routine – daily brushing, flossing, rinsing, and tongue scraping. But that’s not enough to protect your teeth from damage. Your habits and lifestyle choices can take a toll on your pearly whites. Here at the Seven Oaks Dental Centre not talking about the obvious don’ts, such as smoking or eating sugary foods, but the ways you are wrecking your teeth without even knowing.
- Brushing Aggressively
If flossing or using mouthwash feels like too much trouble, brushing your teeth twice a day can offer enough protection from bacteria, right?
Toothbrushing isn’t very effective if you don’t do it properly.
Using a hard toothbrush or brushing too vigorously can irritate your gums, harm enamel, make your teeth sensitive to the cold and even cause cavities. A simple and gentle scrub is more than enough to keep your teeth and gums healthy.
When you need to change your toothbrush, look for a soft one, ADA approved, which means its bristles are hard enough to remove food particles but soft enough not to cause damage. When brushing, think that you want to massage your teeth, not scrub them like your bathroom tile.
- Grinding Your Teeth (Bruxism)
Usually caused by poor sleeping habits or stress, bruxism often goes undetected since most people tend to grind their teeth while they’re sleeping. However, if you experience muscle tenderness, jaw pain or headaches, you should investigate the problem. These are all symptoms of teeth clenching. If left untreated, in time, it can lead to cracks in your teeth.
Avoid hard foods during the day to alleviate the pain and wear a mouthguard at night to protect your teeth.
- Chewing or Biting on Anything but Food
Whether you chew on ice, your pencil or the rim of your glasses, the result is the same – chips and cracks in your teeth. Biting your nails is another bad habit that will cause jaw discomfort from being pressured in a protruded position for a long time. It can also reshape the bottom of your upper teeth or even shift them.
If you don’t stop gnawing on things, all the micro-fractures will widen and reveal the soft tissue. You’ll become sensitive to cold or hot foods, you’ll experience quick, sharp pain, and eventually, you’ll get severe toothaches.
Next time you like chewing on something, choose a sugar-free gum instead; try a bitter-tasting nail polish for when your hand has a mind of its own.
- Sucking on Cough Drops
When the first sign of a sore throat hits you, you’ll most probably go to the drugstore and buy a pack of cough drops. Although they work great, they’re also filled with sugar which will turn into acid that’ll eat away at the enamel. Before you know it, cavities will appear. Needless to say, the sugar in every drink and food acts the same.
To prevent tooth decay, you should choose cough drops with less to no sugar and brush your teeth after taking one. Or simply ask your grandmother for a natural homemade remedy.
- Piercing Your Tongue, Lip or Cheek
You love them; dentists hate them. You think about how cool they make you look; dentists think on how bad they are for you.
In the long run, piercings may not be such a great idea. They can lead to complications like bleeding, swelling, and infection of the tongue, and affect the mucosa (inside of cheeks, lips, taste buds).
When the jewelry rubs against the gum, it will cause permanent gum recession which will lead to sensitivity and even tooth loss. Most probably, you won’t be able to abstain from playing with the metal, and that constant clicking against the teeth can lead to cracks. There are also a lot of cases where lip rings have pushed teeth out of alignment.
Shortly put, when you decide to get a piercing, make sure you know the risks first.
These are only a few of the small things you can change for healthier teeth and a dazzling smile. It’s best to prevent, but if the damage is already done treat any dental discomfort early on. Otherwise, it can lead to severe health problems.