Habits That Damage Your Teeth

By on August 22, 2013
damaged teeth

In addition to a pretty smile, having strong and healthy teeth is important. Taking care of your teeth is something that should be at the top of your list in your morning and evening routines. But you could be wrecking your teeth without even knowing it.

This might sound surprising, but your daily habits may have more negative effects on your oral health than a skipped brushing. EHC brings you some of the habits that can hurt your smile.

Brushing Habits

  • Do you brush your teeth right after eating or drinking something acidic? Give your teeth some time. If you brush immediately after eating or drinking, you may cause tooth wear because the enamel is softened by the acid. After an hour or so, brush gently with a soft-bristled brush.
  • Do you brush your teeth before eating or drinking something acidic? This probably doesn’t happen too often, but if you do, you should stop. Brushing teeth immediately before drinking or eating something acidic brushes away the saliva that protects your enamel from acid.
  • Do you brush your teeth too vigorously? It would seem like a good idea to brush hard, to scrub away all the remnants of food you’ve eaten. But brushing too vigorously can wear down and weaken a tooth’s enamel. Instead, brush teeth gently, using circular strokes and a soft-bristled brush.

Chewing on Ice

It is natural and sugar free, so you might think ice is harmless. But munching on hard, frozen cubes can chip or even crack your teeth. And if your mindless chomping irritates the soft tissue inside a tooth, regular toothaches may follow. Hot foods and cold foods may trigger quick, sharp jabs of pain or a lingering toothache. Next time you get the urge for ice, chew some sugarless gum instead.

Playing Sports with No Mouth Guard

Whether you play football, hockey, or any other contact sport, don’t get in the game without a mouth guard. This is a piece of molded plastic that protects the upper row of teeth. Without it, your teeth could get chipped or even knocked out when the action gets rough.

Bedtime Bottles

It is never too early to protect teeth. Giving a baby a bedtime bottle of juice, milk, or formula, can put new teeth on a path to decay. The baby may become used to falling asleep with the bottle in his or her mouth, bathing the teeth in sugars overnight. It’s best to keep bottles out of the crib.

Tongue Piercings

Tongue piercings may be trendy, but biting down on the metal stud can crack a tooth. Lip piercings pose a similar risk. And when metal rubs against the gums, it can cause gum damage that may lead to tooth loss. The mouth is also a haven for bacteria, so piercings raise the risk of infections and sores. Bottom line, discuss the health risks with your dentist first.

Grinding Teeth

Teeth grinding, or bruxism, can wear teeth down over time. It is most often caused by stress and sleeping habits. This makes it hard to control. Avoiding hard foods during the day can reduce pain and damage from this habit. Wearing a mouth guard at night can prevent grinding while sleeping.

Cough Drops

Just because cough drops are sold in the medical shop doesn’t mean they’re healthy. Most are loaded with sugar. So after soothing your throat with a lozenge, be sure to brush well. Whether the sugar comes from a cough drop or a hard candy, it reacts with the sticky plaque that coats your teeth. Then bacteria in the plaque convert the sugar into an acid that eats away at tooth enamel.

sucking thumb

Thumb Sucking

This seems to be a common habit of all children around the globe. Thumb sucking may cause major misalignment problems and damage the gum line potentially. If your child is growing this habit, help him give up and keep him busy in something else.

Nail Biting

Many people suffer from enteric problems like diarrhea and dyspepsia just for their nail biting habit. This habit can also cause damage to the tooth materials and the soft gums below. You should stop biting teeth and tell others to avoid this to keep their teeth protected.

Chewing Tobacco

You might be surprised to see this included in this list. Tobacco has numerous harmful effects on human body and teeth damage is one of the important side effects.

Drinking White Wine

You might think sticking to white wine would spare your teeth. But the acids still weaken the enamel, leaving the teeth porous and vulnerable to staining from other beverages, such as coffee. Swishing with water after drinking or using toothpaste with a mild whitening agent can fight the staining effects of red and white wines.

Drinking Red Wine

The acids in wine eat away your tooth enamel, creating rough spots that make teeth more vulnerable to staining. Red wine also contains a deep pigment called chromogen and tannins, which help the color stick to the teeth. This combination makes it easy for the wine’s red color to stay with you long after your glass is empty.

Smoking

Cigarettes, as well as other tobacco products, can stain teeth and cause them to fall out as a result of gum disease. Tobacco can also cause cancer of the mouth, lips, and tongue. If you were looking for one more reason to quit, think of your smile.

Drinking Coffee

Coffee’s dark color and acidity can cause yellowing of the teeth over time. Fortunately, it’s one of the easiest stains to treat with various whitening methods. Talk to your dentist if you’re concerned about discoloration of your teeth.

Chewing on Pencils

Do you ever chew on your pencil when concentrating on work or studies? Like crunching on ice, this habit can cause teeth to chip or crack. Sugarless gum is a better option when you feel the need to chew. It will trigger the flow of saliva, which can make teeth stronger and protect against enamel-eating acids.

Constant Snacking

Snacking produces less saliva than a meal, leaving food bits in your teeth for hours longer. Avoid snacking too frequently, and stick to snacks that are low in sugar and starch – for example, carrot sticks.

Fruit Juice

Fruit juice is loaded with vitamins and antioxidants, but unfortunately most juices are also loaded with sugar. Some juices can have as much sugar per serving as soda. For example, there are only 10 more grams of sugar in orange soda than in orange juice. Fruits are naturally sweet, so look for juice that has no added sugar. You can also reduce the sugar content by diluting juice with some water.

Sports Drinks

There is no doubt a cold sports drink is refreshing after a good workout. But these drinks are usually high in sugar. Like soda or candy, sugary sports drinks create an acid attack on the enamel of your teeth. Drinking them frequently can lead to decay. A better way to stay hydrated at the gym is to chug sugar-free, calorie-free water.

Opening Stuff with Your Teeth

Opening bottle caps or plastic packaging with your teeth may be convenient, but this is one habit that makes dentists cringe. Using your teeth as tools can cause them to crack or chip. Instead, keep scissors and bottle openers handy. Bottom line, your teeth should only be used for eating.

Soda

Candy isn’t the only culprit when it comes to added sugar. Sodas can have up to 11 teaspoons of sugar per serving. To add insult to injury, sodas also contain phosphoric and citric acids, which eat away at tooth enamel. Diet soft drinks let you skip the sugar, but they may have even more acid in the form of the artificial sweeteners.

Reflux

Do you experience frequent bouts of heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux (GERD)? Your digestive system churns with acids. When the acids find their way back up into your mouth via burping or reflux, your tooth enamel may be damaged.

Swimming Pool

Do you swim in chlorinated pools often? The chemicals and chlorine in swimming pools have been found to be corrosive to tooth enamel over time. But you would have to gulp up a lot of chlorinated pool water for it to have much effect. Still, if you spend time in the pool, avoid taking the water into your mouth.

Being a little careful in your habits goes a long way in maintaining good oral health. And there will be nothing to stop you from that wide open smile!

Image courtesy: coloribus.com , thetimes.co.uk

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