Sometimes, regular brushing or flossing is just not enough to maintain the health of your teeth. Even those who religiously care for their pearly whites can encounter dental issues. In addition to twice-yearly checkups and cleanings, it’s helpful to be aware of some daily habits that can damage your teeth.
Brushing your teeth at least twice a day for about two minutes remains a great way to take care of your mouth and gums. However, over-brushing (also known as “tooth abrasion”) can harm the protective outer surface of teeth. Brushing too hard or too long can wear away the enamel and can cause gums to recede, exposing the sensitive roots of teeth. Ask your dentist or hygienist to show you the best way to brush and use a soft-bristled toothbrush.
Grinding teeth excessively or clenching your jaw (“bruxism”) can have adverse effects on your overall oral health. Unfortunately, bruxism is an involuntary action so you may not be aware you’re doing it while awake or asleep. Without the use of a mouthguard (or changing this habit), teeth can be ground down, cracked, or lost. Jaw disorders may also develop. If the damage is severe enough, it can change the shape of your face. Stress (one of the most common causes of tooth grinding), is something that can be managed. Getting enough sleep and reducing caffeine or alcohol intake can help you minimize tooth grinding. Talk to your dentist about getting a custom-made mouthguard to protect your teeth.
Chewing on Ice
Some people assume it is safe to chew and/or snack on ice. This is a risky assumption; it can cause a chipped, cracked, or broken tooth. Additionally, extreme temperatures — too hot or too cold — can cause pain and discomfort that can linger long after you’ve finished snacking on frozen cubes.
Cutting or Holding Objects with Your Teeth
Most of us are guilty of performing actions like opening a package or cutting thread with our teeth. Also, biting on an object to hold it when your hands aren’t free can also do damage. By putting foreign objects between our teeth, we run the risk of chipping them or ingesting something that has no place in the digestive tract. In short, you should only use your teeth for eating.
Many people appreciate a caffeine rush in the morning, or while experiencing some afternoon sluggishness. Unfortunately, the acidity and pigmentation of coffee can stain teeth. If removing coffee from your diet is near to impossible, try cutting back on consumption, and brush teeth a half hour after you have a hot beverage. Also, you can ask your dentist about teeth whitening.
Brushing teeth and flossing regularly is only effective if you’re not undermining those efforts with bad habits. Get X-rays every couple of years and a twice-yearly examination and dental cleaning. If you’re looking for a great dentist in Sarnia, give Lambton family dental a call at (519) 344-5747.