You have only one set of pearly whites to last a lifetime and it pays to take ultimate care of them. It is best to steer clear of habits that accelerate general wear and tear of your teeth as these can be quite expensive in the long run. Some effects are mild and easy to correct but others like eroded tooth enamel can be permanent. Here are 9 every day habits that could be wrecking your teeth, and that you should avoid.
1. Using teeth as tools
As much as it would generally be assumed that we should know better than open bottles with our teeth, this cringe worthy habit is far more common than we can imagine. And not just bottles. A lot of people have been known to use their teeth as tools like staple removers even. It may look easier than combing the house for a bottle opener or the office for a staple remover but you run the risk of damaging teeth and even chipping chunks of enamel. Take a few minutes to locate your tools instead of risking painful and unnecessary visits to your dentist. Always keep scissors handy too for opening packages made of plastic and other hard materials. Scissors can also be improvised to remove staples, as well as any other small jobs that need sharp tools.
2. Brushing too soon after some foods
It is always a good habit to brush after meals as it stops bacteria from the food you’ve just eaten from launching an acid attack on your teeth. However, go easy on brushing for at least half an hour after taking foods that contain lots of acids, especially citric acid like oranges, lemons or tangerines. Acids leave your enamel weakened and brushing too soon will be too harsh for teeth that are already in a weakened state. You should however drink a glass of water and swish some around the mouth to immediately wash away the acids.
3. Chewing on ice:
People have been known to chew on ice for the fun crunch and refreshing coolness especially in hot areas but this habit does not do your teeth any favours. Furthermore, if you find yourself craving ice and other bland tasting things of no nutritional value, notify your doctor about it. You might think you’re doing it for fun alright, but your body could be crying out for the crucial mineral iron. Whatever your reason for chewing ice, it will only offer short term relief and expensive consequences in the long run since it can go as far as micro fracturing teeth.
4. Soda and other fizzy drinks
Soda and other fizzy drinks can have upto 11 teaspoons of sugar per serving. Other than the sugar, soda loads a lot of citric and phosphoric acids. So even if you take sugar free soda, that still does not mean that you’re not taking lots of acid. A soda habit will have your teeth in contact with acids which can eat away at the enamel pretty fast depending on how bad the habit is. Other than soda, opt for water or non-acidic juices instead. Erosion of enamel causes permanent damage to teeth.
5. Fruit Juices
Due to their high content of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, the benefits of fruit cannot be underestimated in overall health of the body, including the health of teeth. However, fruit juices are also loaded with sugar and some even acid. Some fruits are even known to contain nearly as much acid as soda. To continue enjoying the benefits of fruits without the dangers, opt for fruits or fruit juices in their natural form, that is without added sugar. Also dilute juices with water to counter high sugar or acid content. Chase fruits and fruit juices with some water to clear acids from the mouth.
6. Beverages & Wines
Some beverages and especially coffee, tea and red wine among others have deep pigment that will cause teeth to stain with time. White wines are not altogether any better as they contain acids that eat away at enamel and leave the teeth open to staining by other agents. These stains however can easily be taken care of by your dentist. Visit one as soon as you begin to see your smile turning colour. On your own, swish water to rinse your mouth after drinking white wine or any other acidic drinks.
The list of nasties that come with smoking ranges from bad breath, discoloration of teeth to the more serious diseases like oral cancer. This is apart from other serious risks it poses to the body. As far as smoking goes, just stop. There is no in between.
8. Using harsh whiteners
Some over the counter teeth whiteners are too harsh and in some cases, you can even feel the damage on your teeth upon first use! This will be in the form of excessive sensitivity. Whenever you need remove stains or whiten teeth, it is always best to have it done by your dentist, or at least with some consultation and guidance from him/her.
Brushing teeth often is the hallmark of a good dental routine but overdoing it could be exposing your teeth to erosion of the enamel. This will result in sensitive teeth, as well as damage to the gums. Over brushing goes hand in hand with using the wrong type of toothbrush, especially a hard bristle one. Use a soft bristle toothbrush and exert just mild pressure on the teeth and gums when brushing. Technique is more of a solution than overly vigorously and enthusiastically brushing your teeth.