Good dental habits can do great things for the health and longevity of your teeth. At Hancock Village Dental, our local dentists have seen patients come in with problems that could have been prevented by adopting healthier methods to care for their teeth and gums, no matter what their diet consists of. Here’s a list of eight habits that could be damaging your smile.
Eating Sticky, Sugary Foods
Are sugary foods some of your favorite treats? Well, we’ve got some bad news for you. Unfortunately, they’re also a favorite food for the natural bacteria living in your mouth. Mouth bacteria feeds on that sticky residue, producing acids that can damage your teeth. Eating less candy is a good first step, but don’t forget about other sugary sources like dried dates and other fruits, juices, and raisins. If you do eat something sweet and sticky, brush your teeth afterward, but wait a good half hour before you do, brushing too early can cause you to wear down your enamel faster.
Chewing on Ice, Pencils, and More
Biting down on inedible things like pencils or crunching on ice puts your teeth at risk of premature damage. You may be biting with more force or a different jaw position than you would when eating food. This puts your teeth in danger.
Ice is a big troublemaker for another reason. If your teeth are already damaged with small chips, the ice makes the enamel cold, brittle, and more likely to crack. If you are finding this habit tough to break, sub in something crunchy like carrots. They offer a satisfying snap without causing damage, plus they’re good for you!
Aggressive Tooth Brushing
It’s recommended to brush for two minutes, twice a day or after every meal. However, if you’re brushing too hard, you could be doing more harm than good. Using a very hard toothbrush and abrasive toothpaste can create dental damage over time. Instead of scrubbing your teeth like you would bathroom tile, use softer bristles and a gentle, circular massaging motion.
Do you grind your teeth when you’re up against a frustrating deadline at work? Do you wake up in the mornings with a sore jaw? Grinding and clenching your teeth can cause progressive damage. Troubleshoot the problem with meditation, stress-relieving activities, and gentle jaw massages. Your Clermont dentist may also recommend you wear a mouthguard during the night to prevent bruxism.
Using Your Teeth to Cut
It can be tempting to bite the corner of a plastic wrapper to get it open. However, just like with biting on pencils, you could end up damaging your teeth. This is especially risky with stubborn, thicker plastic packaging. The expense and inconvenience of dental care isn’t worth it. Instead, take the extra minute to hunt down a pair of scissors or other tools that could do the trick.
Taking Vitamins and Medicines
Surprised to see this one on the list? It really comes down to what’s in them. Chewy, sweet gummy vitamins can create many of the same problems as sticky treats. Medicines like cough syrup and cough drops are also often laced with sugar to help disguise the taste. You don’t have to skip vitamins and medicines, especially if they’re recommended by your doctor. However, it is worthwhile to look for sugar-free versions. Otherwise, brush your teeth after taking them.
Smoking can damage your teeth in several ways. Nicotine creates unsightly stains that can be difficult to remove without professional teeth whitening. It can also result in progressive gum disease. Untreated gum disease can lead to your teeth falling out. Need help quitting this addictive habit? Talk to your doctor and reach out to local support groups, this tends to make it a bit easier.
Eating Healthy Produce
A diet rich in tomatoes, grapes, and citrus fruits can be good for your heart health and your waistline. However, the acids in them can temporarily soften and weaken your tooth enamel. Keep eating the foods you love, but drink lots of water with meals to wash the natural acids away.
Keep Your Teeth Healthy With Clermont Family Dentistry
One of the best ways to stop dental damage in its tracks is to catch the problem early. That’s why we recommended regular dental checkups. At Hancock Village Dental, our staff offer both pediatric and adult dental care. Contact us today at 352-989-5815 to schedule an appointment and get your dental health in shape this new year!