Poor oral hygiene, soda, and sugary foods can do serious harm to your oral health, but did you know there are “normal” habits lurking in your daily life that can harm your teeth? Some of these threats are unknown, while some can even be the result of “healthy” habits and activities.
To keep your oral hygiene in tip-top condition, Prevent Dental suggests you read up on these less than obvious threats to ensure you’re taking the proper steps to protect your teeth.
1. Using teeth as a tool. Before you tear off a piece of tape with your teeth, or use your teeth to prise the lid off a bottle, think about the possible consequences of your actions. Using your teeth as a tool (other than for chewing food) can have tragic dental effects.
Using your teeth for a purpose other than for what they are intended can cause them to chip, crack or even break. A human’s teeth are meant for two things: chewing, and flashing as a brilliant smile.
It can be very tempting to use your teeth as a tool because teeth are convenient, can often get the job done quickly, and are close at hand. But the more you use your teeth as a tool for cutting, ripping and opening various tough objects, the greater your chance of causing permanent damage.
2. Chewing. Chewing on ice might seem innocent, after all, what is more innocent than water? But chewing ice can actually do a lot of damage to your teeth. Chewing ice can cause gum injury, microscopic fractures in enamel (which can turn into larger fractures), and even broken teeth. Chewing ice is especially dangerous for people with braces or who have just had dental work.Chewing other objects, like pens and pencils, is similarly dangerous. If you have a need to chew, buy some sugar-free gum, and chew away!
3. Overbrushing. Just because you are concerned about your teeth and gums doesn’t mean you have to brush intensely. Experts suggest using a soft-bristle toothbrush that effectively removes food particles from the surfaces of and between teeth. Vigorous brushing can actually be harmful in potentially stripping the protective enamel coating on your teeth and doing damage to your gums, causing them to recede.
4. Hard Toothbrush. Is there ever a reason to choose a hard toothbrush? Probably not. Although some people prefer using firm bristles, the fact that they are more likely to wear away your teeth’s enamel and your gums means they are generally not the best choice. The benefit of harder bristles – that they remove slightly more plaque than soft-bristled brushes – is usually not enough to justify their use.
If you are convinced that a hard toothbrush is better suited for you, or that it will help improve your oral health, you should talk to your Prevent Dental dentist about your options. Switching from a manual powered brush to an electric toothbrush is an answer for many people.
5. Endurance athletics and your teeth. Multiple studies demonstrate that endurance athletes are at greater risk for dental problems than non-athletes, as a result of their fitness regimen
Two primary culprits contributing to this phenomenon are: drinking large amounts of sports drinks, and breathing through the mouth during training, leading to dry mouth.
– Sports drinks contain high amounts of sugar—as much as two-thirds the amount of sugar in sodas Continuously sipping a sugary beverage is particularly harmful to your teeth, as with each sip you’re feeding caries-promoting bacteria in your mouth
– Most people, including elite athletes, tend to breathe through their mouth during exercise. Mouth breathing reduces the flow of saliva and dries out your mouth. This too allows bacteria to thrive, which can lead to plaque, cavities, and worse.
6. Swimming? Yes, even swimming can be dangerous. The longer your teeth are exposed to chlorinated water, the more likely you are to develop swimmer’s calculus.
Chlorine can deposit residue on your teeth, turning them yellow or brown. This condition typically only affects swimmers who spend over six hours a week in chemically treated water. Also, a surprising number of accidents occur while swimming, particularly with children. The hard surfaces at the edge of, and around the pool can be quite dangerous.
7. Contact Sports. All Australians can smile with Jeff Horn for bringing home the WBO Welterweight Championship. Jeff’s smile in that bout was protected by a custom-fitted mouth-guard and if you indulge in any contact sports, yours should be also!
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