Many people are unaware that everyday bad habits can lead to tooth decay, gum erosion, and even permanent tooth loss. At Pacific Coast Smiles in Santa Maria, California, we want you to keep smiling forever. To help maintain healthy teeth and gums, we’ve pulled together the following list of 7 bad habits to avoid.
1. Chewing ice and other weird stuff
Chewing ice, or any hard item for that matter, can cause teeth to crack. Extreme cold (like extreme heat) raises your risk of developing tooth sensitivity, too.
Don’t chew on any non-food item either— like pens, straws, fingernails. And when biting hard foods, such as carrots, be sure to use your molars. Lastly, never use your teeth as a tool by biting open a package or twisting off a bottle cap.
2. Piercing your tongue or lips
A tongue or lip stud knocks against your teeth, damaging and cracking the enamel. The studs can rub against your tender gums, too, creating pain, infection, and erosion that could lead to tooth loss.
3. Indulging that sweet tooth
Sugar increases your risk of developing cavities. Sugars turn into acid. The acid eats through your tooth enamel, creating channels that allow bacteria to travel into and infect the sensitive pulp of your teeth.
Even so-called healthy sugars are harmful for your teeth. Avoid or limit the following foods, and be sure to rinse well with water afterward if you do indulge so that your teeth aren’t bathed in sugar for any length of time.
- Sports drinks
- Candy and other sweets
- Fruit juice
Chewy candies or lozenges that remain in your mouth or on your teeth for long periods are especially bad for your teeth.
4. Snacking and night eating
Even if you avoid sugar, starchy snacks like potato chips also turn into acids that erode your teeth. Rinse your mouth and clean between your teeth if you can’t brush.
Regularly eating or eating at night also gives acids and bacteria eight hours or more to erode your enamel. Try to time your meals so you can brush afterward. Don’t eat a midnight snack without brushing your teeth afterward
5. Brushing too hard
Brushing your teeth too aggressively or with too hard a brush wears down the protective enamel on your teeth and can also harm your gums.
When it comes to your teeth and gums, you have to be vigilant about cleanliness, but gentle, too. Use a soft-bristled brush to gently sweep your teeth clean no more than three times a day.
6. Forgetting the mouth guard
Whether you play sports where you could get hit in the mouth (think high-speed balls, bats, and racquets) or have the (mostly unconscious) tooth-grinding habit known as bruxism, a mouth guard or night guard protects your teeth. If you don’t wear a mouth guard, you’re at increased risk for broken and chipped teeth. If you grind your teeth at night and don’t wear a protective nightguard, you’ll end up with flat molars and possible jaw pain and alignment problems.
7. Skipping bi-annual dental checkups
Bi-annual checkups and professional cleanings are essential preventive measures. Even if you are diligent about home dental hygiene, only a professional can thoroughly clean tough-to-reach spots with their expertise and instrumentation. Your dentist can also identify any oral health problems at the earliest, most easily treated stage.
To learn more about preventive oral health and all of your dental care needs, call Pacific Smiles at (805) 250-3652 or request a consultation online.