With good brushing and flossing, you may think you are on the road to a lifetime of healthy teeth. Unfortunately, everyday habits may be leading you down the road to ruin.
At Caldwell Dental Care in Orange County, our dentistry team educates patients about habits, both good and bad, that can affect your teeth. We also offer exceptional cosmetic dentistry and restorative dentistry to ensure our patients have every advantage when it comes to a healthy smile.
Common Bad Habits
Brushing Too Hard?
You may be surprised, but vigorous tooth brushing is NOT what the doctor ordered. Hard brushing can wear down tooth enamel and erode gums. We recommend using a soft toothbrush and brushing thoroughly, but gently, in a circular motion.
What’s In Your Glass?
Regular and diet soda, energy drinks, wine, and fruit juices all have acid that erodes tooth enamel, making teeth susceptible to decay. Sugar, which feeds decay-causing bacteria, is another culprit in many drinks. If possible, consider using a straw to help keep acid or sugar in drinks away from your teeth.
Hold That Thought, Not the Pen
When we’re deep in thought, we might hold a pen or glasses in our teeth. But that little habit causes significant force on teeth. It could shift them out of position or even crack them. Find another habit when you need to concentrate.
Use the Right Tool
As your dad would say, use the right tool for the job. Tearing open a package, snipping a thread, or ripping off a tag with your teeth is a bad idea. You could end up with a chipped tooth.
Snacking and Sweets
Most snacks are high in sugar and starch, which feed decay-causing bacteria. But there’s another problem. Unlike a large meal, small snacks don’t stimulate the extra saliva that washes away food residue, which helps bacteria multiply. Gummy and sticky candy makes the problem worse by leaving sugary residue on your teeth for an extended time. If you indulge, give your teeth a thorough brushing and flossing afterward.
More Than Just Smoke
Tobacco, in any form, is bad for teeth. Cigarettes cause gum disease, which can lead to tooth loss and cancer. Chewing tobacco is worse since it puts carcinogens in direct contact with gums for prolonged periods.
Biting Your Nails
Biting nails is a common habit, but it’s hard on teeth. You probably won’t see the damage initially, but repeated biting can eventually move your teeth out of position or cause unnatural wear. It can also break a tooth.
Your teeth are designed to tear through foods, not to bite down on solid objects. Ice cubes, which are both cold and hard, are a double-whammy. Put this habit on ice.
A Potential Nightmare
Grinding your teeth (bruxism) puts stress on them and can cause fractures. Unfortunately, grinding often happens while you are asleep. Talk to a dentist about fitting you with a mouth guard to wear at night.
If you would like additional advice on the finer points of tooth care, please call. We are dedicated to helping our patients care for their teeth and avoid complications.