We’ve all heard over and over that sugar is bad for your teeth, but there’s a long list of other things that can harm your oral health – and some of them are surprising.
Here are seven other obvious – and not so obvious – things that can ruin your smile:
- Biting things that aren’t food: Do you ever use your teeth to rip open a plastic bag? Or bite your nails? How about chewing on ice? They may seem harmless because your teeth are quite sharp, especially ice because it’s just frozen water, but they’re not. Biting your nails and other nonfood items can cause gingivitis and tooth loss, because the tips of your teeth that you use to bite are the thinnest and weakest part. They’re more susceptible to chipping and breaking.
- Sticky foods and fruit smoothies: Peanut butter, gummy vitamins and marshmallows are tempting for kids and grownups alike, but dentists recommend limiting your intake of sticky foods and even gummy vitamins. Sticky substances stay on your teeth longer, and then they break down and become acids that can erode your enamel. And fruit smoothies? They’re increasing in popularity as a healthy option, but they’re high in sugar – and high in acid. And as we just mentioned, acid erodes your tooth enamel. If you’re not willing to limit your intake of smoothies, sip them through a straw and drink lots of water after to rinse the acid out of your mouth.
- Too much brushing and flossing: Can too much of a good thing be a bad thing? In the case of brushing and flossing, yes. If you’re using a hard-bristled brush and pushing down hard on your teeth, you’re doing it wrong. You could be wearing down your enamel and maybe even causing your gums to recede. Opt for a soft toothbrush next time you’re at the pharmacy, and be careful not to press down too hard on your gums while flossing.
- Grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw: You may not even know you’re doing it, but do you ever wake up with a sore jaw or face? That’s a sign you’re grinding your teeth at night. It could be from stress or from other conditions, but whatever the cause, it’s obviously not good for your teeth. Consult with a dentist if you’re having this problem. They might recommend a mouthguard or something else.
- Drug abuse: You may have heard of “meth mouth,” or the rapid deterioration of teeth for people addicted to crystal meth, but meth isn’t the only drug that can cause problems for your teeth. Cocaine, ecstasy, heroin – and even marijuana – can harm your oral health.
- Alcohol: Just like caffeine, alcohol lessens the amount of saliva that flows in your mouth. Prolonged abuse of alcohol can lead to tooth decay, and even worse, oral cancers.
- Ignoring tooth pain: It may seem like just a little ache, but if you don’t see a dentist soon after, that toothache could turn into something more serious. What starts as a tiny cavity can quickly evolve into infection, which can cause tooth loss or worse.
Don’t let these habits ruin your beautiful smile. Contact Dr. Tim Chauvin’s office today for a checkup.