17 Ways You May Be Inadvertently Damaging Your Teeth




Do you brush your teeth right after eating or drinking something acidic?  Brushing your teeth immediately after eating or drinking something acidic can cause tooth wear.  If you eat or drink anything acidic, brushing at the ‘wrong’ time – particularly within 20 minutes after consuming acidic foods and drinks – can wear your teeth faster than normal. Give your teeth some time. Wait a ½ hour or so, then brush.  This will allow the enamel on your teeth to re-mineralize, returning to a more wear resistant form.

iStock_000002480184XSmall[1]Do you brush your teeth too vigorously?  Often people think that brushing harder is better because it helps to remove all the plaque and debris.  Brushing too vigorously will not only damage the gum tissue over time but it can actually wear away tooth enamel.  Especially exposed root surfaces.  It is far more effective to brush gently with a soft bristle toothbrush as the bristles are more flexible and will conform to the tooth surface better to help remove plaque and debris.  Tooth brush abrasion (wearing away of tooth surface) is common problem, and can increase tooth sensitivity.

Do you grind your teeth? It is estimated that 90% of people grind their teeth.  Many are not aware that they grind.  They may not do it every night, but over time, the damage becomes evident.  Think of taking the oil out of your car and driving around the block once a night.  For years the damage will not be obvious, but eventually problems will arise.  Grinding or clenching your teeth can have similar results.  Clenching and grinding will eventually wear down teeth, destroy the supporting bone and can cause TMJ problems.  A dentist can usually identify a clenching or grinding habit by looking at your teeth.  If wear or damage is evident, you can protect your teeth from further damage by wearing a simple appliance called a night guard.

Do you take any type of medication regularly? There are many types of medicationsdrugs[1] that can cause dry mouth. Saliva is important because it not only helps to dilute acids in the mouth (due to it’s alkalinity), but it helps to wash away food and debris providing a cleansing effect.   When your mouth lacks moisture, your teeth quickly become more vulnerable to enamel erosion, cavities and gum problems.   Ask your doctor or pharmacist if any of the medications you take can dry up your protective saliva.  See our posts regarding the benefits of saliva: https://sunningdaledentalblog.com/2012/07/17/6-ways-saliva-protects-your-teeth/  and the effects of dry mouth: https://sunningdaledentalblog.com/2011/06/06/dry-mouth/

Do you experience frequent bouts of heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux (GERD), or vomit frequently? Your digestive system churns with acids. When the acids find their way back up into your mouth via burping, reflux or vomiting, your tooth enamel may be damaged. People with heartburn, GERD, and eating disorders like bulimia or anorexia should take steps to protect their teeth.  Ask us how.

Do you swim in chlorinated pools often?  The pH balance of chlorinated waterswimming can sometimes be too low (acidic), putting swimmers at risk for rapidly deteriorating enamel. The lower the pH level of a liquid, the more acidic and harmful it is to your teeth.  According to  an article by The Academy of General Dentistry, swimmers who are in the water for six hours or more per week run the risk of yellow or brown stains forming on their teeth.  If you are at risk please ask us how to protect your teeth.  For more information click on the link:  http://www.speareducation.com/spear-review/2012/08/chlorine-why-teeth-are-shaking-in-their-boots/

Sipping on beverages throughout the day.   The sugar from a single sip can sit on your teeth for 20 minutes, and the accumulation of sugar can lead to rampant decay.  Acidic drinks will also make teeth more vulnerable to decay.  Sipping on any beverages (anything other than water) throughout the day maintains a constant attack on your teeth. https://sunningdaledentalblog.com/2012/02/01/what-are-the-worst-drinks-for-your-teeth/https://sunningdaledentalblog.com/2011/06/01/the-7-worst-food-and-drinks-for-your-teeth/

Candy in pink wrapper isolated on white.Sucking often on cough drops or other candies.  Just because cough drops are sold in the medicine aisle doesn’t mean they’re healthy. Most are loaded with sugar. So after soothing your throat with a lozenge, be sure to rinse with water. 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.  Gummy candy and fruit roll ups, etc also stick to the teeth keeping the sugar in contact with the teeth for hours.  Parents often think they are giving their children healthy snacks when in reality, they are not. 

Chewing ice and crunching on hard candyYou would think that because ice is just frozen water, it is good for your teeth.  However chewing on ice, and crunching ice (and hard candy), can fracture your teeth and irritate the soft tissue in your mouth.

Using your teeth to open anything! Don’t use your teeth to open a bottle, a package, a barrett, a bobby pin, or anything else. It can lead to chipped or fractured teeth. 

Smoking as well as chewing tobacco. You knew this one had to be on the list! Smoking as well as popping a wad of tobacco into your mouth can not only yellow your teeth, but more importantly lead to oral cancer. Why would you even want to risk it? 

Piercing your tongue.  Studs or rings in the mouth can chip teeth tongue pierced]and damage the gums. More importantly, the piercing creates a wound in the mouth, which is a highly-bacterial environment and could increase the risk of infection.

Nervous Habits.  Anytime you bite down on a hard, non-food object, you risk damaging your teeth. Individuals that have such nervous habits as chewing on pencils, biting their nails, or tapping a pen against their teeth, risk inadvertently cracking or chipping a tooth. Just like with ice cubes, you’re better off chewing on a piece of sugar free gum instead.

Playing sports without a sports guard.   Whether you play football, hockey, or any other contact sport, don’t get in the game without a mouth guard. Without it, your teeth could get chipped or even knocked out.  It is just not worth the risk!

iStock_000010743287XSmall[1]Skipping Dental Checkups.  Dentists often recommend dental check ups and cleanings every six months, but most patients fail to comply. This allows plaque to form tartar (calculus), which attracts more plaque on its surface, carrying the plaque deeper within the gums.  This can destroy the tooth’s supporting structures (the bone).  Cavities if caught early are much easier to fix, and less tooth structure is lost.  “The sooner you find issues, the easier and less expensive they will be to address,”

10. Drink Bottled Water.  Most bottled water has little or no fluoride and most home filtration systems filter much of it out. Stick with fluoridated tap water since it’s “the most cost-effective way to prevent cavities and fight tooth decay,”  If your water isn’t fluoridated, you may require some type of fluoride supplement.

This entry was posted in Cavity Fighting Strategies, Dry Mouth, It's Your Health, Oral Health and Overall Health, Oral Hygiene, Other Tips, Prevention. Bookmark the permalink.

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