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September 18th, 2017

Everyday Things That Can Harm Your Teeth

Category: cincinnati dentist

Everyday Things That Can Harm Your Teeth cincinnati dentist hagen dental practice

Your teeth reveal so much about you: including your age, what you eat, what you drink and they tell us a lot about your state of overall health. Did you know your teeth also can shed light on stressors in your life and even illnesses you’ve endured? Put simply, your teeth give us a bit of a “personal history” when it comes to your entire health and well-being.

Your daily habits make up your health…so that’s why we’re taking a look at some of the habits you might not realize are taking a toll on your teeth.

Taking a Fresh Look at Your Habits

Biting your nails. If you bite your nails, it may be time to really hunker down and quit the habit. Yes, it might be hard to quit as many folks who say they bite their nails realize they do it because of nerves or stress…but here’s good reason to quit: Long story short, biting your nails—in place of using a nail clipper—can put a lot of pressure on certain teeth in your mouth.

And, not surprisingly, it can lead to broken dental restorations, fracturing your teeth, chipping your teeth or simply damaging your teeth over time! There’s even evidence that biting your nails can cause or worsen TMJ symptoms (1). 

Opening that bag with your teeth. Do you ever use your teeth in place of a knife or scissors? Maybe you are opening a bag with your teeth or you’re ripping off a price tag on your new shirt?!

In addition to not biting your nails, put simply, you ALSO want to avoid using your teeth in place of a knife, scissors, or any kind of “tool.”

That’s because your teeth really weren’t meant to be put in that position; using them this way can lead to injury, to say the least. A general rule of thumb: If you don’t want to chip or crack your teeth, remember that they aren’t scissors!

Using the hardest tooth brush. Okay, so you’re brushing your teeth…that’s a great habit! But are you brushing your teeth too hard each day? Part of the problem could also be made worse if your tooth brush is not a soft one or electric one.

Ask us about your options so you can tweak this habit into purely a positive one.

Chewing on pencils or pens. Sure, you’re saying – ew, that’s gross! As gross as it may be, it’s true that many folks mindlessly chew on the end of their pencils. In many cases, we’re guessing they don’t even know they are doing it; whatever the case may be, if you know you end up chewing on the ends of your pens, know it’s time to kick the habit.

Not only is it potentially harmful to your enamel, it can cause stress fractures in your teeth. Knowing that chewing on that pencil can be bad for your oral health is surely enough reason to find another way to release that stress!

Too much snacking and sipping of beverages throughout the day. Snacking or hydrating/drinking beverages itself is not the problem; but what can be a problem is when someone snacks, throughout the day, and doesn’t brush or floss in between these snacks.

Think about it this way: even if you’re eating healthy snacks or drinking a healthy beverage, you can end up with food (or food debris) that stays in your mouth much longer than you intended. Over time, that leads to buildup and plaque in your mouth and along your gums.

In the case of unhealthy snacking (think: foods that are loaded with added sugars), the scenario is made even worse because sugar can really stick to the surface of your teeth and quickly do damage. The takeaway: if you want to snack and drink a lot of beverages, by all means, go ahead; but just be sure to fit in time for brushing your teeth, flossing, or at minimum – drinking a lot of water!

Gummy sweets. Fruit Gems? Twizzlers? Jelly Beans? Sour Patch Kids? Swedish Fish? Okay, you get the idea! High-fructose corn syrup found in many such sweet treats has more than a couple of downsides, one major one being that it tends to stick to your teeth long after you eat it. Because of the long-lasting, damaging effects it can have (despite often being just a quick treat!) gummy candies are KNOWN for being cavity-causers.

Not wearing a mouth guard. Did you know at least 5 million teeth are knocked out every year because people aren’t wearing mouth guards when playing sports or exercising? That doesn’t even include all the other mouth-related INJURIES that occur. That can include soft tissue injury, teeth that become loose, tooth loss, cracked teeth, and jaw issues!

One of the best habits you can adopt is wearing a mouth guard in any contact sport. They’re even becoming popular in other sports that don’t necessarily include contact, since hard blows to the mouth can still occur. Ask us about options for your custom fit mouth guard.

Drinking alcohol. Alcohol often increases your sugar intake, it can dehydrate you, and it can stain your teeth, in many cases. Those are reasons why too much alcohol aren’t going to be a positive for your oral health.

Second, know that gum disease, tooth decay, and mouth sores have been shown to be more likely for very heavy drinkers—more reason to just be aware of what you’re consuming on a regular basis (2, 3).

Chomping on ice (or even some frozen treats). Do you find yourself chomping on ice at any point throughout the day? That’s something many people do without even realizing it—whether it’s at their work desk, when they are out to eat for lunch, or just while watching TV.

Believe it or not, chewing on ice can result in cracked teeth. It can also damage your tooth enamel, without you even realizing it.

Just think of how good of a job you’re doing on your oral health habits, and how much damage this can STILL do to your teeth! Another problem we see is that when people chomp on ice, it can lead to problems related to existing work in their mouth. Needless to say, try to avoid chomping on that crushed ice! Your teeth and gums will thank you.

Sucking your thumb. Okay, sure, most folks reading this blog post are of course not thumb sucking and/or using a Pacifier! But, in the case of our children, it can be a habit that we want to be aware of and keep an eye on.

While thumb sucking can be a natural tendency for our kids, remember that after our children’s permanent teeth arrive, sucking can hold back proper growth of the mouth, and in some cases, it can cause alignment issues with teeth. Ask us for more information if you’re concerned about your child’s habit!

Chewing too much gum… with added sugar. Ever see the baseball players on TV who are chewing big wads of gum? Depending on the type of gum you’re chewing, be sure to watch just how much you chew each day. After all, some have added sugars that aren’t going to help your oral hygiene habits. Stick with sugar-free and don’t go overboard!

A lack of a bed-time routine. Okay, so maybe this is the opposite of a habit—either way, if you or a family member has NO bedtime routine (time for brushing and flossing!), it can be hard to stay consistent with our oral health habits. Be sure to model the way when it comes to good oral hygiene each night with your family. When needed, to a random check-up on kids’ mouths to make sure they are brushing at night, and brushing the right way.

Eating a lot of hot, and a lot of cold foods. It’s not to say that hot and cold foots inherently are bad for your teeth or damage your teeth; rather, eating a combination or a “rollercoaster” of very hot and very cold foods/drinks CAN mean you experience tooth sensitivity.

Keep in mind if you experience lingering pain, or sudden or sharp pain, that’s something worth checking out, as it could be a sign of a more severe problem like advanced decay or even a cracked tooth.

Major dehydration. Okay, so maybe you find yourself running from meeting to meeting, and after a long day, you realize just how dehydrated you are! Or maybe you work out in the morning and don’t tend to re-hydrate until noon.

Whatever the situation may be, if you are someone who is regularly dehydrated, know that it can also negatively impact your teeth. In simple terms, when we are dehydrated, we can develop dry mouth, and if it persists, it can contribute or accelerate the formation of cavities and/or tooth decay in the mouth.

Because we haves less “natural” saliva in the mouth if we’re dehydrated, bacteria have an easier time thriving. In summary, making sure we are consistency hydrated is what’s key here.

hagen dental keep your teeth as healthy as possible

Looking for a New Dentist? Give Hagen Dental Practice a Call

We value making sure you feel relaxed and comfortable during your visit just as much as we value the health of your pearly whites—and we’ll do everything we can to make you and your entire family feel at home. We hope to see you and your family for your next appointment. Give us a call today at (513) 251-5500 to schedule a visit!

Sources/References

  1. https://www.humana.com/learning-center/health-and-wellbeing/healthy-living/nail-biting
  2. http://oralcancerfoundation.org/understanding/alcohol-connection/
  3. http://www.healthline.com/health/dental-and-oral-health/what-does-alcohol-do-to-your-teeth#overview1

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