We all know that sweets-- candy, cookies, and cakes-- are damaging to our teeth due to the high sugar content. Eating too much of these can lead to an increase in cavities or painful tooth decay. Soda is another culprit that dentists have always told us to either avoid-- or drink in moderation-- because of the high amounts of sugar as well as the carbonation. But there are also some surprising things that may be harming your teeth as well-- and you may not even be aware of them. We’ve put together this list of the top 7 surprising things that are damaging your teeth-- so you can avoid them and keep your teeth and gums looking and feeling their best.
Along with regular visits to the dentist, it’s important to keep up a good oral hygiene routine. Sometimes it just isn’t convenient to brush our teeth when we’re at work or on the go. That’s why it’s a great idea to carry a Brushee in your purse or bag. It’s your portable toothbrush, paste, and floss all in one convenient package! Now it’s even easier to have your teeth brushed and your breath fresh at any time of day.
This should go without saying, but you would be surprised at the amount of people who are still guilty of this behavior. We all know that children like to put items in their mouth when they’re teething-- but this isn’t something that adults should continue to do. Although our teeth can be sharp in some places, they simply are not meant for holding things and ripping items open like bags. Our teeth are capable of tearing through things, but the sharp part of our teeth is actually where it is is the weakest. Don’t risk chipping your tooth and limit what goes into your mouth to food and drinks.
Biting fingernails is not only an unsightly habit, it can also be damaging your teeth as well. There have been instances where people have caused gingivitis and have had problems with TMJ-- all due to biting their fingernails.
As we mentioned above, everyone knows that that sugary foods and drinks are damaging to your teeth. But did you know that acidic drinks like juices and smoothies can also be causing your dental problems? Fruit juices are especially acidic-- which over time can start to wear down your tooth enamel. This comes as a surprise to a lot of people-- because fruit is good for you! While this is still true, dentists recommend you drink these types of juices in moderation and do so by using a straw. It will help limit the exposure of your teeth to the acid, saving them some wear and tear.
Sticky foods such as gummies and gelatin can also cause a problem for teeth. Due to their sticky formation, they tend to break a part in the mouth and become stuck between teeth. Try to limit these types of foods or vitamins or be prepared with a large glass of water to wash it down with after you eat them.
Most soda drinks are extremely high in sugar, and should be avoided. They also damage your teeth because of the carbonation and the caffeine-- two things that erode enamel and dry out your mouth. Coffee and tea can stain your teeth if you neglect to brush properly after them-- but when taken black, have beneficial effects. Make sure to stay away from the sugary syrups and creams that most major coffee shops offer and stick with just black or a small amount of milk.
Alcohol can also have an effect on your teeth and gums-- it can dry out your mouth and limit your saliva production. Red wine is also an easy way to stain your teeth as well! Limit your alcohol intake to the recommended daily doses and make sure to re-hydrate as you drink.
This is the most important thing you can do to keep your teeth and gums feeling their best. Brushing properly is key-- and unfortunately a lot of people still do this incorrectly. Make sure you have a soft bristled toothbrush, and that you angle it at a 45 degree angle. Do not brush or scrape your mouth hard-- instead make an up and down motion that gets both sides of your teeth-- as well as in between. It i also important to brush your teeth for a full two minutes. Any less and you’re not allowing enough time to adequately reach all the corners of your mouth and in between all the teeth.
Flossing is as important as brushing, but it is done less consistently if it is done at all. After brushing your teeth it is important to floss-- and get all the smaller parts of food debris that your brush just couldn’t reach. Make sure to get the thick floss that can wrap around each tooth and really clean in out.
Sometimes people wake up with a sore jaw or mouth and have absolutely no clue why. If this sounds like something you’ve experienced-- you may be grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw at night. These are two serious problems that can have damaging effects on the health of your teeth. Over time, bruxism can wear away the enamel of your teeth and even cause chips and cracks.
Talk to your dentist if you find yourself waking up with a sore jaw or clenched mouth. They can create a customized mouth guard for you to wear at night to protect your teeth from this behavior. This behavior is often considered a by product of stress, so look into some new ways to relax before bed to try and prevent this problem as well.
A sore tooth should be a warning sign that it is time to see the dentist. However, not everyone believes that to be so. When we ignore dental problems, they will not just magically disappear. More likely than not they will only get worse-- and become increasingly more painful. When you have a little soreness, it’s an indicator that something isn’t right and needs to be addressed. A small cavity can get out of control very quickly-- causing pain and perhaps even tooth decay and loss. It’s better to play it safe than sorry when it comes to any dental issues.
Make sure you visit your dentist twice per year-- this is one of the best preventative measures you can take. They can investigate any possible issues and discuss any concerns you have as well. It’s better to treat a problem early before it becomes something even worse.
We mentioned above that caffeine and alcohol can cause your mouth to try out-- making it harder to produce saliva. Saliva is very important to a healthy mouth because it acts like a rinsing agent and clears away harmful bacteria. Saliva also balances the pH of your mouth, and neutralizes acidic foods that can cause tooth decay. Elderly people are especially susceptible to dry mouth due to the fact that they tend to be on more medications. Depending on what they’re taking, one common side effect usually tends to be dry mouth.
If you find yourself suffering from dry mouth, make sure you carry a bottle of water with you so you can re-hydrate and rinse out your mouth often. It’s also a good idea to limit your sugar intake with dry mouth, so maybe consider some other changes to your diet as well.
It’s important for all of us to realize that more than just sugary foods and drinks can be causing damage to your teeth. Being aware is the first step-- the next is doing something about it. Make sure you try and limit theses damaging foods and behaviors, and be sure to visit your dentist every six months for a check up. It’s the best way to make sure your teeth and gums will stay healthy for a lifetime!