Some of the biggest mistakes we can make for our teeth are ones that we may not even realise we are making…
Have you been brushing your teeth twice daily? Check. Have you been avoiding sugary foods when you can? Check. So that’s it right? Unfortunately that’s not quite enough.
In keeping up with your normal dental hygiene routine you may not have even realised how damaging some of your other lifestyle and eating habits could be to your teeth. At Excellence in Dentistry in Wickham Terrace we are committed to providing our patients with useful information to help keep their smiles healthy.
Here are seven things you might be doing that can damage your teeth:
1. Brushing too vigorously
While you might be scrubbing away trying to get your teeth to really shine, you may actually be eroding your enamel. This erosion can lead to discolouration and cavities.
How to avoid this: We advise you to purchase a toothbrush that has soft bristles. You should then brush in a circular motion, while trying to avoid a hard scrubbing motion from side to side.
2. Swishing down hot foods with a cold drink
How often do you see people swigging down a cold soda drink while eating pizza? We know it might be good in theory, but when hot food or liquid touches your teeth it causes the enamel to expand. When you expose the expanded tooth enamel to the opposite (cold liquid or food) you can then leave yourself vulnerable to cracks in your teeth. This exposure to hot and cold foods or drinks can also have a damaging effect on the pores of the enamel.
How to avoid this: Eat hot foods with a fork to stop them from touching the front of your teeth, while using the molars at the back to chew. In addition to this it is advisable to drink cold liquids with a straw so the liquid can avoid the teeth all together.
3. Using your teeth as a tool
This might be one of those points that you wouldn’t apply to yourself, yet many people do this without even thinking. Have you ever used your teeth to lift a plastic seal, open a bottle, crunch ice, hold an item when you have no hands left or to break something in half? Chances are you have answered yes to at least one of these.
Unfortunately all these actions can end up causing micro-fractures and cracks. Using your teeth as a tool can also lead to fillings becoming loose.
How to avoid this: Basically folks, you’ll have to do it the old fashioned way – with your hands.
4. Using the wrong toothpaste
Some toothpastes on the market are simply too abrasive for your teeth. In addition to this, toothpastes that do not contain fluoride can mean that you are missing out on the re-mineralizing aspect of fluoride. This means that you can be damaging your enamel and even potentially weakening your teeth.
How to avoid this: Research the toothpaste you are intending to buy to ensure that it is within the advised abrasion levels and that it has a healthy level of fluoride.
5. Using over-the-counter teeth whitening kits
Unfortunately over-the-counter whitening kits can be unsafe and even ineffective. Some contain unsafe levels of bleach, while others can be filled with chemicals that will not whiten, nor benefit your teeth. These kits can lead to a heightened level of tooth sensitivity, as well as a potential degradation of the tooth’s structure.
How to avoid this: If you do want to whiten your teeth, book an appointment with a dental professional or request a take-home kit from your dentist.
6. Not neutralising your teeth after choosing foods that have a high acidity level
Foods that are very acidic can wear away at your teeth’s enamel. This can eat away at the structure of the teeth, as well as potentially cause increased sensitivity to hot and cold drinks. Some food and drinks that have a high level of acidity include:
- Diet soda
- Lemon, lime and orange
- White wine
- Sour gummy lollies
- Sports drinks
How to avoid this: When it comes to the drinks, if you can’t avoid them then it is advisable to drink them with a straw. When consuming any acidic foods or drinks you can help to neutralise the effects by swashing with water in your mouth after having them.
7. Not flossing enough
While you probably make sure to brush twice daily, often flossing gets left by the wayside. However flossing can be one of the most important steps in your oral hygiene routine. Food and bacteria can build up between the teeth, which can eventually lead to deep seated decay on the inside edges if the teeth that can be more difficult to treat.
How to avoid this: Make it part of your dental hygiene routine to floss once daily.
Comprehensive care with Excellence in Dentistry
At our Wickham Terrace dental practice we understand that every patient’s lifestyle and set of teeth is different. While taking the previous 7 points into consideration, it is also important to visit a dentist every 6 months for your general check-up. This appointment will remove the tartar that brushing and flossing alone cannot. These appointments also allow our dental professionals to help you avoid the development of any potentially harmful dental concerns before they become more advanced. In short, these appointments can keep your teeth healthy for life, as well as help to save you time and money in the long run.