Having healthy teeth and gums is dependent on many factors. Hygiene is high on the list, as is protecting your teeth from trauma. Some things we do to our teeth can be extremely damaging. These habits can range from mild to severe, and from conscious to subconscious. Some may not even know they are hurting their teeth with these harmful acts.
Avoid doing these things with your teeth
Save your teeth from yourself and avoid these five things you shouldn’t do with your teeth.
1. Consuming sugary food and drink
This means steering clear of candy, pastries and, especially, soda. Sugary foods like this can adhere to teeth and cause a spike in plaque production. Bacteria in the mouth feed on empty carbohydrates like starches and sugar. The waste produced by these bacteria is acid, which eats away at enamel and causes cavities.
However, sugar is not the only culprit when it comes to unhealthy teeth. Acidic foods like lemon or coffee can corrode tooth enamel when repeatedly exposed.
Avoid extremely hot or cold beverages, instead reach for room temperature drinks to keep your teeth healthy.
2. Biting down on hard objects
This means chewing on pencils and biting your nails. Do not use your teeth as tools in opening or cutting things either. Habits like these can destroy your teeth, causing fractures and deep trauma that will be costly to fix in the long run.
Using toothpicks wisely can save your gums and enamel. Be careful not to crunch toothpicks. The tiny splinters can get lodged between teeth or in gums and can wreak havoc on your oral health.
3. Brushing too hard
A common faux pas, brushing too hard can do a lot of damage. Your gums and enamel will thank you for using the correct brushing technique. Instead of applying lots of pressure, try tilting your brush at a 45-degree angle upward and brushing lightly in small circles.
Not only is brushing hard less effective than brushing lightly, but it can wear down enamel and irritate the gums. When the bristles are pressed too strongly against the teeth, they begin to bend outward. This renders the toothbrush less effective, as the bristles are designed to gently scrub away food from the surface and between teeth. When they are bent, the bristles cannot do their job correctly and areas are neglected unintentionally.
4. Teeth grinding and jaw clenching
Also known as bruxism, the constant grinding can happen either unconsciously during the night or in stressful situations throughout the day. In time, untreated bruxism can wear down enamel, crack teeth and cause gum recession. It can also lead to a painful jaw disorder called TMJ (Temporomandibular joint dysfunction) where movement in the jaw is limited due to an inflamed joint.
Teeth that are weakened from grinding often need to be extracted. At this point, you will need to either have a dental implant fitted or a crown. As you can see, teeth grinding can be a costly habit. Try stress relief techniques and consciously relaxing the jaw throughout the day to kick the inclination to clench teeth.
5. Chewing on Ice
An often mindless activity, crunching on ice can be detrimental to teeth. The combination of cold and hard is a formula for disaster. For this reason, what may seem like a harmless pastime is actually a one-way ticket to a fractured tooth.
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