With proper care, your teeth can stay healthy, strong, and good looking for the rest of your life. If you don’t treat them right, however, you may be in for years of dental pain — not to mention invasive and expensive restorative procedures.
You probably know the basics of brushing, flossing, and visiting our office twice each year for a cleaning and exam. But have you thought about how your daily habits might affect your oral health?
Read on for to learn about ten ways you may be harming your teeth and gums without even realizing it. And don’t forget to book your next checkup at Marineland Dental Care. Call our Kennewick, WA office at 509-591-0515.
It’s no secret that smoking (and chewing tobacco) has no upside. It harms your body in innumerable ways, including your teeth and gums specifically. It causes tooth discoloration and bad breath, and is one of the primary risk factors for gum disease. And smokers’ gum disease is more difficult to eradicate than non-smokers’. Tobacco use also increases your chances of developing oral cancer.
Coffee and Tea
If you are like many people, the thought of having that first cup of coffee or tea is the only thing that gets you out of bed in the morning. And these warming beverages are okay in moderation. However, they are a couple of the worst culprits when it comes to staining the teeth. Try to keep your consumption to one or two cups per day. Once you’re finished, brush your teeth or at least rinse your mouth out well with water. Try to avoid drinking coffee and tea throughout the day.
Soda is bad for your mouth in a couple of ways. First, there’s the sugar. Drink soda, and you are coating your teeth with the sweet stuff. This causes harmful bacteria to proliferate, and they give off acids that wear away the enamel and open up the teeth to decay. But diet soda drinkers aren’t off the hook! Even sugar-free sodas contain high levels of acids, which, like the bacteria-produced variety, eat away at the tooth enamel and make you vulnerable to cavities.
Everyone’s hurried these days, it seems, and eating on the go has become common. But this sort of constant grazing is not good for dental health. People who snack frequently develop a bacteria-laden film over their teeth and gums that leads to cavities and bad breath. If you do have a snack, try to brush your teeth afterward — or at least drink plenty of water.
Brushing Too Hard
We applaud your efforts to practice good oral hygiene, but if you brush too hard, you are doing your teeth no favors. Brushing with too much force wears away the tooth enamel and can damage the gums, leaving you at risk for tooth decay and gum disease. Brush thoroughly but gently, and always use a soft-bristled toothbrush.
This nervous habit is damaging to your teeth as well as your fingernails. When you chew on your hard nails, you may end up cracking or chipping a tooth. It is also unsanitary. You introduce bacteria from your nails into your mouth, where it can multiply and cause issues. You also transfer microbes from your mouth to your nails, where they may spread to any surface you touch.
Teeth as Tools
Your teeth are not pliers and they are not scissors. If you attempt to use them as such, you may end up with a broken tooth. If you have a package to open, find a proper tool and resist the temptation to use your teeth.
Grinding and Clenching
Habitual grinding and clenching wears down the teeth and can lead to headaches, muscle pain, and TMJ problems. Grinding and clenching — or bruxism — often happens during sleep. Anxiety is an important contributing factor. Try eliminating sources of stress in your life, or give relaxation techniques a try.
People who drink excessive amounts of alcohol tend to have high levels of plaque and are at a much greater risk of losing their teeth than non-heavy drinkers. This may be due to alcohol’s drying effect. Without normal saliva production, the mouth can’t stay clean.
Chewing on ice may seem harmless enough, but it’s a behavior that puts your teeth at risk. You may end up wearing down the enamel, or even cracking or chipping a tooth.
Put an end to these teeth-unfriendly habits, and you are well on your way to a lifetime of good oral health. If you live in or around Kennewick, WA, call Marineland Dental Care for your next appointment. Reach us online, or call 509-591-0515.