Here's an alarming statistic: while adult teeth are built to last a lifetime, roughly 178 million Americans are missing a tooth. What's even more alarming? Over 40 million Americans have lost all of their teeth! If you don't want to be part of the statistics, you must learn to take good care of your oral health.
While you can always turn to cosmetic dentistry to fix your teeth problems, it is also recommended that you focus on preventive care to preserve your oral health and maintain a healthy mouth. An integral part of preventive care is avoiding habits that can ruin your teeth. Below are some of them:
1. Biting Non-Food Items
While your teeth are sharp, they are not designed for tasks like biting the fingernails or tearing open plastic packaging. Biting the nails can result in tooth loss and gingivitis. The tip of the tooth is also weak and thin so it's prone to breakage and chipping.
If anything, your teeth are designed for chewing food and not for biting or chewing non-food items. Chewing ice is another habit you should give up. Since ice is very hard, it can harm the tooth enamel.
2. Brushing Too Vigorously
If you want to keep your teeth healthy, brushing them regularly is a must. However, it is important that you don't brush your teeth too vigorously as it can wear down the tooth's protective enamel and cause cavities and tooth decay.
Ideally, you need to think of brushing as a massage for the mouth. Aside from using soft-bristled toothbrushes, ensure you also use gentle strokes. In addition, you need to be careful so you don't damage your gums when flossing.
3. Clenching or Grinding
Teeth clenching and grinding (also known as bruxism) can cause significant enamel erosion and can result in chipping and cracking of the teeth over time. If you clench or grind your teeth, it is recommended that you inform your dentist.
Bruxism can be attributed to various causes, including anger, frustration, anxiety, tension, and stress. Aside from treating the underlying cause, your dentist will likely recommend a mouth guard to prevent further damage to the teeth.
Aside from the harmful health effects of smoking, like respiratory disease and oral cancer, smoking can also be detrimental to the teeth. Smoking can increase the bacteria and plaque
on the teeth, resulting in gum disease.
Aside from gum disease (and tooth loss), smoking can also cause bad breath and stubborn surface stains. If you want to quit this harmful habit for good, it would be best to consult your doctor for advice and recommendations.
5. Brushing Too Quickly
Many people don't know that brushing their teeth alone won't suffice. Ideally, you have to brush your teeth for two full minutes. You also need to brush your teeth at least twice daily. Brushing the teeth for two minutes can help ensure more plaque is removed. It will also give the fluoride ample time to do its job. Fortunately, most electric toothbrushes now come with a built-in timer.
6. Eating Too Many Sweets
Treating yourself to a sugary snack every once in a while is okay. However, if you make it a habit to eat too many sweets, you can feed the bacteria in your mouth, resulting in tooth decay.
Always eat a balanced meal so you will feel fuller longer and you won't be tempted to reach for those sugary treats. Also, make sure to drink water and brush your teeth after eating a sweet treat.
7. Avoiding the Dentist
Professional cleanings and bi-annual dental check-ups are considered an important part of preventive care. During check-ups, your dentist can uncover problems like cavities and tiny cracks so they can be addressed before they worsen.
It is important that you are aware of the bad habits that can cause harm to your teeth so you can avoid them at all costs. If some bad habits have taken a toll on your teeth, it is recommended that you visit your dentist right away so any problems can be addressed as soon as possible.
Dr. Megan Peterson Boyle is dedicated to delivering the best possible patient care. She is a
leader in the field of cosmetic dentistry and full mouth rehabilitation in Scottsdale. She understands the anxiety related to dental care and has made it her goal to deliver treatment
in a relaxing environment. Outside of the practice she enjoys spending time with her husband
Garrett and their three young children. She loves any time spent outdoors, cooking, exercising,
and any do-it-yourself project!