You brush every morning and night, you floss daily (using proper technique, of course). And you would never think of missing your twice-yearly visits to Edgewood Dental Care. That’s what it takes to have a healthy smile for life, right?
Well yes, all of these things are important. But if you are not mindful about how you take care of your teeth and gums throughout the day, you may be sabotaging your best oral-hygiene efforts.
Here we’ve listed a few bad dental habits that may be putting your smile at risk. Do whatever you can to put an end to them, and book your next cleaning and exam at our Edgewood, KY dental office. Call 859-474-7830.
Stop the Snacking
There are plenty of reasons to end the snacking habit. While it’s convenient to have bags of chips and pretzels stashed in your desk drawer, or to grab a quick bite while you’re on the run, eating distinct meals at set times is best for your dental health. (Not to mention that eating throughout the day is not great for your waistline.)
Here’s what happens in your mouth when you eat. Food, carbohydrates in particular, stimulate the production of bacteria that produce acids that wear away at your tooth enamel. These “acid attacks” are what cause teeth to decay and cavities to form.
When you snack throughout the day, you are subjecting your teeth to a constant barrage of acid attacks. A film of destructive bacteria will even form over your enamel. It doesn’t help that snack foods tend to be sugary, carb heavy, or both — just the type that bacteria love to feed on.
If you do need a little something outside of meal time, choose cheese, an apple, carrot sticks, or low-sugar yogurt.
Just Don’t Smoke
As you surely know, it’s well established that smoking and smokeless tobacco products such as chewing tobacco wreck havoc throughout your body. Smoking causes cancer, leads to chronic lung problems, and increases your chances for developing heart disease and stroke.
It’s hardly a surprise that tobacco is terrible for your oral health in particular.
- Tobacco use will turn your teeth yellow.
- If you use tobacco, your senses of smell and taste may be dulled.
- Smoking is a leading risk factor for gum disease, likely because it lowers your resistance to infection in general.
- Smokers who do have gum disease tend to be resistant to treatment and are more likely to lose teeth.
- Oral surgery in smokers takes longer to heal.
- Smokers have lower dental implant success rates.
- Unsurprisingly, tobacco increases your likelihood of developing oral cancer.
And we get it. If quitting were easy, you probably would have done so long ago. This guide from the Centers for Disease Control is packed with helpful information and tips.
Don’t Take Your Nerves Out On Your Teeth
Maybe your habit is chewing on your nails. Or nibbling the tip of your pen or pencil. Perhaps you clench or grind your teeth at night as you sleep. These are habits that may be borne out of stress or anxiety, and that can do serious damage to your dental health.
Your teeth are strong and resilient, but they are designed to chew food, not objects. When you chew hard things such as your fingernails or a pen, you risk breaking or cracking a tooth. (Ouch!) It is also unsanitary. You will transfer your oral bacteria to the object, and vise versa.
Bruxism is another dangerous habit. Over time, your tooth enamel will wear down and you may start to experience sensitivity and tooth decay. Teeth clenching may also lead to gum recession, and TMJ-related problems like jaw pain and migraines.
End the Soda Habit
Soda combines acid and sugar, making it a particularly nasty thing for your teeth. It settles into the groves of your teeth, where the acids begin to eat away at your tooth enamel and bacteria feed on the sugars, producing even more destructive acids. Diet soda isn’t much better. While it doesn’t contain sugar, it is high in damaging acid.
Replace your soda habit with a water habit. Water keeps your body hydrated and your mouth clean, rinsing away bacteria and food particles and neutralizing acids. Tap water is especially beneficial, as most water supplies are fortified with enamel-strengthening fluoride.
Break these bad dental habits, and you have the best chance of maintaining healthy teeth and gums for life. Especially if you continue your good oral health habits, like visiting Edgewood Dental Care every six months.