Do you want to keep your natural teeth healthy and beautiful? Avoid costly, invasive, and potentially uncomfortable dental restoration and replacement procedures? You probably know the basics of what you should do: brush twice per day, floss regularly, and visit the dentist every six months. But it’s just as important to know what not to do — and to banish those bad habits that will destroy your mouth.
At Edgewood Dental Care, we want to be your partner in maintaining a brilliant and healthy smile for life. To request an appointment, call our Edgewood, KY office at (859) 474-7830.
This one shouldn’t be a surprise. Smoking is terrible for your body in all sorts of ways. And chewing tobacco isn’t much, if any, better. As if you need any more reason to quit your tobacco habit, it happens to be bad news for your teeth, gums, and mouth specifically.
Do you like your teeth to be a dingy yellow color? Yeah, we didn’t think so. Tobacco will stain your teeth — and even your tongue. It also gives you bad breath and may diminish your ability to taste and smell.
Tobacco use also has much more serious effects on your oral health. It is one of the most significant risk factors for developing gum disease. Smokers heal more slowly after dental procedures, and they have lower success rates for dental implants. And then there’s cancer. You probably know smoking puts you at risk for lung cancer. But tobacco use also makes you more likely to develop oral cancer. We understand that smoking is difficult to quit. But this is one habit that’s worth kicking to the curb.
Soda is basically acid and sugar — two things that will wreck your teeth. Diet soda is a slightly better choice than regular soda, but it still contains harmful acids. People tend to think fruit juice is healthy, but it is high in sugar and can lead to tooth decay, just like soda. Same with “sports drinks” and flavored milks. Get into the habit of drinking water and plain milk instead. Water actually helps clean your teeth between meals and brushing, while milk contains enamel- and bone-boosting calcium.
When it comes to your oral health, chewy and sweet are a bad combination. Fruit snacks, fruit rollups, soft granola bars, gummy candy, and even dried fruit stick to your teeth, attracting bacteria and promoting decay. Fresh fruit is a much better choice — especially crunchy, fibrous fruits that are relatively low in acid, like apples.
Teeth grinding, otherwise known as bruxism, can do a lot of damage to your teeth in a short period of time. It can also lead to problems beyond your teeth: headaches, TMJ and jaw problems, ear pain, and more. Stress exacerbates teeth grinding. If you can’t eliminate the source of your stress, give meditation or other relaxation techniques a try. If you grind your teeth in your sleep, we can create a custom mouthguard for you to wear at night.
Your Teeth Are Not Tools
You may like to think of your teeth as the ultimate gadget, always handy if you need to open a bag of pretzels or rip off a stubborn tag. But your teeth are fragile. When you use them in a way for which they are not intended, you risk breaking, cracking, or chipping them. And that is not a risk worth taking.
Chewing Your Nails
Gnawing or biting your fingernails can cause your teeth to chip or crack. (Ouch!) Your nails probably aren’t looking so hot either, and they may have chewed up, jagged edges capable of scraping the soft tissue inside your mouth. Plus, you risk the transmission of nasty bacteria — from your mouth to your hand and vice versa.
Munching on a small ice cube on occasion probably won’t hurt you. But if you are a compulsive ice chewer, you should do your best to break this habit. When in its frozen state, innocent H2O may crack, chip, wear down, or otherwise damage your teeth. It may also dislodge fillings and crowns and lead to a sore TMJ.
Ice chewing, or pagophagia, is the most common form of pica, which is the term for craving and eating things that are not food and have no nutritional value. Many people with iron-deficient anemia have pagophagia as one of their symptoms. If you are unable to stop your ice-munching habit, you may want to get your iron levels checked.
If you recognize yourself in any of these habits, we suggest you do what you can to stop. And don’t forget to schedule your next checkup at Edgewood Dental Care. We offer a convenient online contact form, or your may call our Edgewood, KY office directly at (859) 474-7830.