keep your smile healthy and pretty by avoiding these bad habits that wreck your teeth.
1. Chewing on Ice
Chewing ice is a seemingly harmless, unconscious habit but can cause permanent damage to our teeth with small cracks. These cracks can grow larger over time and ultimately cause a tooth to fracture. Opt for chilled water or drinks without ice to resist the urge.
2. Playing Sports With No Mouth Guard
Going out on the playing field without something to protect your teeth is as important as wearing a helmet and other protective body gear. Your teeth are vulnerable to being knocked out or damaged from high impact sports such as basketball, football, hockey, and soccer. A sports mouth guard helps cushion hard blows to the teeth and jaw.
3. Bedtime Bottles
Despite being an effective tool to lull your baby to sleep, bottles of milk at bedtime increase the risk of early dental decay in your baby’s mouth. Prolonged exposure of the sugar in milk works with mouth bacteria to break down tooth enamel and results in rampant decay. There’s even a name for it: Baby Bottle Tooth Decay. Find alternative methods to help your baby sleep before bedtime or use water in the bottle instead.
4. Tongue Piercings
Tongue piercings are a trend that can come at a hefty price in terms of cost to your health. Highly discouraged by dentists, tongue piercings can cause teeth to chip or break requiring dental work. They can also rub against the gums and cause permanent gum recession, which can lead to sensitivity and even tooth loss. Mouth jewelry also encourages more bacteria buildup in the mouth creating an overall unhealthy situation.
5. Grinding Teeth
Grinding or clenching teeth is called “bruxism” and affects an estimated 30 to 40 million people. It usually happens at night, it can be an inherited trait from a parent, and it is often associated with stress in one’s life. It puts pressure on teeth, jaw muscles, and the jaw joint (temporomandibular joint or TMJ) and can cause pain. Wearing a custom-made mouth guard at night may help prevent damage and reduce pressure on teeth and surrounding structures. Other methods such as biofeedback and relaxation techniques might help.
6. Cough Drops
Although they are meant for medicinal purposes, cough drops have a high sugar content. Sucking on cough drops all day to soothe the throat also bathes your teeth in sugar. Dental plaque (which contains bacteria) increases in the mouth creating a higher incidence of decay and gum disease. A good alternative is to opt for cough drops that are sugar-free.
7. Opening Stuff With Your Teeth
Teeth are meant for eating, speaking properly, and smiling. Anything else can be unhealthy and this most certainly includes using them as tools. Despite the convenience, opening potato chip bags, bobby pins, or even bottle caps with teeth can cause teeth to chip or fracture. Reach for the proper tools for such tasks to save your teeth from unnecessary damage.
8. Chewing on Pencils
We often unconsciously chew on pencils or bite objects when we are concentrating. These pressures on teeth can cause teeth to chip or fracture. Chewing sugarless gum can be one way to prevent damage and it also stimulates saliva production and helps to cleanse our teeth in the process.
Tobacco use dries out the mouth and increases the amount of plaque buildup around our teeth. Smokers are more likely to lose teeth compared to nonsmokers due to gum disease. Additionally, tobacco use is a big risk factor for oral cancer. To increase your chances of success in kicking this unhealthy habit, seek help from your doctor.
10. Sports Drinks
Although after a tough workout, sports drinks are no better than soda in that they contain high amounts of sugar and acids that can do harm to your teeth. To avoid the risk of decay and dental enamel erosion, opt for refreshing, calorie-and-fat-free water.