A person’s teeth are supposed to last a lifetime. For that to happen, one must practice good oral hygiene and proper dental care. Unfortunately, most people are wrecking their teeth without even realizing it that they are doing their pearly whites wrong. Thumb sucking, nail biting or sucking lemons – they all contribute to the early damage of your teeth. St. Lawrence pediatric dentists are always reminding both the children and the parents of the many do’s and don’ts in dental care. Some of the habits developed by children and adult alike over time may cause damage to the teeth that will not immediately show or manifest but will build up over the years, which will be harmful to their overall dental health in the long run.
Some of the daily habits, which dentists advise their patients to avoid in order not to damage their teeth are:
- Crunching ice. Teeth aren’t intended to crush or crunch solid objects like ice. While others see nothing wrong about using the teeth as “chompers” dental associations all over the world advise against chewing or biting hard objects such as hard candy, hard food or ice.
- Not flossing but using mouthwash. This is a common mistake – using mouthwash to kill gingivitis. Some who think that a mouthwash rinse is enough to protect them from the dreaded gingivitis ditches flossing. Despite their religious habit of mouth rinsing, they still develop gingivitis and end up with poor or bad breath. They didn’t know that a mouth rinse does not kill the bacteria below the gums and between teeth. To remove these bacteria, one needs to floss.
- Drinking sports drinks. Sports drinks are no different from soda or soft drinks. They both contain acid and sugar. People drink sports drink after exercise when their mouths are drier. The bacteria present in the mouth use the sugar as food and create cavities. The acid doesn’t get buffered by saliva, which results in decalcifications along the gum line.
- Using your teeth as tools. Teeth should not be used as can openers, scissors, pliers, or knives because they aren’t tools. Even biting a thread, which may seem so simple and not harmful can cause micro-cracks that may eventually lead to more serious dental problems in time.
- Drinking soda. Sugar and acids are contained in soft drinks in huge amount. These sugar and acids can coat the teeth and erode the enamel.
- Biting your pen. Holding a pen, glasses, pencil or other solid and hard objects in your mouth for a sustained period can result in cracks, pressure marks and breaks in your teeth.
- Teeth grinding and jaw clenching. There’s too much pressure put on the jaw when clenched during stressful situations or while sleeping. Relaxing will solve this or using a night guard can protect your teeth if you grind them during slumber.
- Ignoring regular dental care. Skipping regular cleanings and avoiding necessary dental repairs can lead to big time problems down the road, despite brushing, flossing, and avoiding bad habits.
- Using the wrong equipment. Don’t use paperclip, toothpick, or piece of paper to get something out from your teeth. Using these objects may lead to gum and tooth damage.
- Biting your nails. This common habit may cause splinters or cracks in your teeth. On top of that, it can introduce nasty germs into your mouth that can infect your gums and teeth.
To break these habits, you should start by recognizing and admitting that you are guilty on some of the damage-causing habits. You should be mindful and try to substitute such habits with healthier or non-damaging ones. If it’s a dietary issue like soda, switch to water or another non-sugary, non-acidic drink. Creating a discipline that will help make your teeth healthier is your best resort to prolong your pearly whites.