We all know that sweets like candy, cookies, and cakes can lead to an increase in cavities and painful tooth decay due to their high sugar content. Soda and other carbonated drinks are also a major factor– which dentists have warned us about for years. But did you know there may be some surprising items that can harm your teeth too? To keep them looking their best, it’s important to avoid the top 7 unexpected things damaging your teeth.
Biting non-food items
It’s a no-brainer, but some might be shocked to learn how many adults still engage in this behavior. Kids often put items in their mouth when teething, but there’s no reason for this habit to follow us into adulthood. Our teeth may be sharp around the edges, however they are not designed to hold objects or open packages. Although our teeth can tear through things, the edges are actually much weaker and can easily chip if you aren’t careful. To avoid hurting your pearly whites, limit what goes in your mouth to food and drinks only.
There have been instances where people have caused gingivitis and have had problems with TMJ by biting their fingernails.
Foods that are acidic and sticky
As previously mentioned, everyone is aware that sugary treats are detrimental to your teeth. However, did you know that acidic drinks such as juices and smoothies can also be causing dental issues? Fruit juices stand out as especially acid-ridden; if consumed in excess, the acids can break down tooth enamel over time. This may seem surprising to many, given the fact that fruit is often considered healthy. Dentists nonetheless advise imbibers to drink these types of beverages sparingly and do so with a straw– this will decrease the contact of your teeth with these acidic liquids, thereby giving them some relief from wear and tear.
As a result of their sticky formation, these foods tend to break in the mouth and become stuck between teeth. Be prepared with a large glass of water to wash it down after eating these types of foods or vitamins. Because of their sticky formation, they tend to break a part in the mouth and become stuck between teeth.
Caffeine and alcohol
It is best to avoid soda drinks because they are extremely sugary and acidic. They also damage your teeth because of carbonation and caffeine, two things that erode enamel and dry out your mouth. If you fail to brush properly after drinking coffee or tea, they can stain your teeth– but when they are consumed black, they are beneficial. Whenever possible, stick to just black coffee or milk instead of sugary syrups and creams offered by most major coffee shops.
You should limit your alcohol consumption to the recommended daily doses and make sure to hydrate as you drink. Drinking alcohol can also dry out your mouth and restrict your saliva production.
Incorrect brushing and flossing
Brushing your teeth properly is the most crucial element for keeping your oral health in optimal condition. Unfortunately, many individuals still perform this task incorrectly. Utilizing a soft-bristled brush and angling it at 45 degrees is recommended; be sure to use an up-and-down motion which will cover both sides of your teeth, as well as between them. It’s also essential that you devote two full minutes to brushing; anything less won’t be enough time to reach all parts of your mouth.
When you brush your teeth, it is important to floss to get all the smaller pieces of food debris that your brush couldn’t reach. It is just as important to floss, but it isn’t as consistent as brushing. The floss you use should be thick enough to wrap around each tooth and remove all the food debris.
The grinding and clenching of teeth
Sometimes people wake up with a sore jaw or mouth and have no idea why. If this sounds like something you’ve experienced– you may be grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw at night. Over time, bruxism can wear away your teeth’ enamel and cause chips and cracks. This is a serious problem that can adversely affect your teeth’s health.
It is important to speak to your dentist if you wake up with a sore jaw or clenched mouth. In order to prevent this behavior, they can create a customized mouth guard for you to wear at night. Stress is often attributed to this behavior, so try to relax before bed to prevent it from happening.
Ignoring dental problems is number six
If you experience a sore tooth, it’s a sign that a dentist should be consulted. Ignoring dental problems is not the best choice, as they won’t just go away. They can lead to increased pain and worse conditions, like an expanding cavity or even tooth loss. It’s better to act fast when it comes to things like this in order to avoid future issues.
Visiting the dentist twice a year is one of the best preventative measures you can take. They can investigate any possible problems and discuss any concerns you have. It’s better to treat a problem early before it worsens.
As we mentioned earlier, drinks like caffeine and alcohol can reduce saliva production. This is problematic as it limits the amount of fluid available to rinse away potentially harmful bacteria and neutralize acidity that could cause tooth decay. Elderly people are particularly vulnerable due to their increased likelihood of having to take medications– side effects of which can include dry mouth.
If you suffer from dry mouth, make sure you carry a bottle of water with you so you can rehydrate and rinse your mouth often. You can also limit your sugar intake if you suffer from dry mouth, so maybe consider some other changes to your diet as well.
All of us should be aware that more than just sugary foods and drinks can damage our teeth. Getting aware is the first step; the next is taking action. The best way to make sure that your teeth and gums will last for a lifetime is to limit these damaging foods and behaviors, and visit your dentist every six months for a checkup.