Our teeth are like tiny enameled super heroes. They fight bacteria, plaque, and tartar all day in a never-ending saga. Kind of like those never-ending X-Men movies! In addition to the natural stuff, they also have to fight your bad habits or behaviors. You know, the stuff you do like chewing ice.
At Gentle Dental, we like our patients to be knowledgeable, so here are some bad habits as pointed out by the American Dental Association.
- Grinding your teeth — Life can be a grind, but it shouldn’t be on our teeth! Yes, daily stresses such as your loser boss create anxiety, and this can show up when sleeping. It’s called bruxism, and you are grinding your teeth down when you do it. The problem is that most people who grind don’t realize they do it unless they awake with very sore jaws. But the pros at Gentle Dental can see the signs and get you into a mouthguard to wear at night.
- Chewing ice — True, ice is no-cal and no-fat, but that doesn’t mean it’s good for chewing. Chewing ice can chip or crack your teeth. It also irritates the soft tissue inside the tooth, causing toothaches.
- Sodas — There is a movement to limit the consumption of soft drinks in the U.S., but for your teeth, there’s more to drinking this stuff than just the sugar. It’s obvious the sugars can lead to dental decay, but they also contain phosphoric and citric acids. These are corrosives that eat away at the enamel protecting your teeth.
- Your teeth, the opener — OK, you know a guy who shows off his adept ability to open beer bottles with his teeth. While this is an interesting parlor trick, you’re best to leave it to that person. Opening a beer bottle with your teeth is the quickest way to crack them.
- Bottle in the crib — Leaving a bottle with your baby at night is doubly bad parenting. It’s a weak way to avoid the full-on feeding, and it’s bad for the child. The tot may fall asleep with the bottle in his or her mouth, bathing the teeth in sugars overnight. Feed them before bed, and they will calm down.
- Fruit juice — While you may have grown up with Hi-C and Hawaiian Punch, it’s time to move on. Why? Because there is often as much sugar in these pseudo-juices as in soda. Once you read the label, you’ll see that these “juices” have all of around 10% juice content. Plus, in certain juices, the acidity is pretty high.
- Snack-o-Rama — So, you’re the snack king. A little something here, a little something else there…all day. This isn’t good for your teeth because when you eat a regular meal, your mouth understands it needs to get with saliva production to help eliminate and break down residual particles. But when you snack for brief periods, you don’t produce saliva in the same way. The lack of saliva when you eat a snack means that food bits can stay in your teeth for hours. If you need a snack, opt for something low in sugar and starch, like carrots.
- Cigarette smoking — This one’s a no-brainer. Cigarettes stain your teeth and lead to gum disease. As if that weren’t enough, tobacco also leads to cancer of the mouth, lips, and tongue. And it’s so 1960. Lucky Strikes, anyone?