7 Things You’re Doing that are Damaging Your Teeth
We are all guilty of engaging in a few bad habits. Some however may inadvertently cause serious damage to our teeth. Dr. Anthony Marra and his team at Huntersville Dentistry care deeply about our patients’ oral health and are happy to help anyone concerned about whether their habits may be affecting their teeth. Protecting our teeth affects our overall health and making a few lifestyle changes can help keep our mouths in good shape for the duration of our lives.
Playing Contact Sports without a Custom Mouthguard
Contact sports like soccer, basketball, hockey, and football can cause significant damage to teeth with a forceful blow to the mouth. Without a custom mouthguard, teeth can chip or even get knocked out.
How to avoid damage: Include a custom mouthguard as part of your gear kit. You can purchase a self-fitting one from a pharmacy or work with Dr. Marra to make a custom fit.
Bottles at bedtime
Giving your baby a bottle of juice, milk, or formula at bedtime may help them fall asleep, however the habit puts your child’s teeth at risk for decay. This is known as Baby Bottle Tooth Decay, and though it may not seem important to protect baby teeth since they eventually fall out, these first set of teeth help to ensure the second set come in correctly. In worst case scenarios, severely damaged teeth require removal. This can affect the child’s speech, as teeth play a huge role in shaping our language.
How to avoid damage: Avoid putting your child to bed with a bottle. If they have a bottle before bedtime, use a damp washcloth to clean your child’s gums before going to bed.
Grinding or Clenching Your Teeth
For many, stress causes some to clench or grind their teeth, often without realizing it. Others may grind their teeth during the night, unknowingly. Frequent grinding and clenching can result in chipped or cracked teeth, muscle strain, joint pain, and can cause wear. Pain while chewing or jaw pain may signify that you clench or grind your teeth.
How to break the habit: If you are aware that you grind your teeth during the night, wear a custom mouthguard to protect your teeth. Practice awareness and relaxation exercises if you think that you might be a jaw clencher or grinder.
Eating Gummy Candies
We know that sugar causes tooth decay, but gummy candies especially are a culprit. Because they are sticky, the candy remains stuck in the crevices of the teeth for long periods of time. Bacteria feasts upon the food and ultimately causes cavities.
How to avoid damage: Reach for healthier snacks, like fruits and vegetables. If you really need to give into that sugar craving, time your candy consumption with meals and drink a lot of water after you’re finished.
Using Your Teeth as Tools
Teeth are designed to chew, not act as a pair of scissors, hold objects while your hands are full, or open bottles. Using your teeth as a tool puts you at risk for damage like cracked teeth.
How to avoid damage: Practice patience, set things down if your hands are full, and carry a bottle opener on your keychain or dog’s collar.
Drinking Soda and Sports Drinks
In addition to all the sugar used to create sodas and sports drinks, they also tend to be quite acidic. The acid in the drinks can corrode tooth enamel over time and lead to dental problems, such as tooth decay, gum line erosion, and loss of enamel.
How to avoid damage: Learn to love water and sip on that throughout the day instead.
Yes, cough drops are great for sore throats, but they are also loaded with sugar. Sucking on them for long periods of time is not all that dissimilar from sucking on hard candy or a lollipop all day long.
How to avoid damage: Gargle with salt water and sip on warm herbal teas rather than cough drops.
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