Our teeth represent our identity in so many ways. When they’re healthy and pearly white, our teeth give people the impression we take good care of ourselves. They can even make us seem wealthy and intelligent. On the other hand, teeth that are missing, cavity-filled, or just plain crooked make people believe we lack proper hygiene, when in reality, we do try, but simply have acquired some poor dental habits.
This is one of the many reasons good dental hygiene is so important. Besides affecting our personal health, it influences how healthy our relationships will be by the kind of people we attract. A great set of chompers gives us confidence and draws like-minded individuals towards us.
Unfortunately, some habits we engage in damage our teeth (and our appearance) without our knowledge. Smoking cigarettes and binging on desserts are common sense no-nos, but what about thumb-sucking? Or teeth-grinding?
Here are 5 shocking habits ruining your teeth you may not be aware of.
Substituting the Right Tool With Your Teeth
Crunching on ice isn’t alone in how bad it can be for your teeth. Using your teeth like a bottle opener or a pair of scissors forces your teeth to do work they weren’t designed for. Not only can your teeth chip and break, it distorts the alignment of your jaw (also called malocclusion).
Malocclusion can eventually lead to a condition called temporomandibular disorder, more commonly known as TMJ. This misalignment of the jaw causes pain and locking of the jaw joints. Abstain from ripping that tag off your new dress to prevent your teeth from some serious wear and tear.
Brushing Your Teeth Like a Madman
In our hectic, fast-paced lives, sometimes all we want to do is to get . . . it . . . done. This mind frame can be targeted at our dental routine as well. We’re told to brush twice daily, floss, and avoid sugary snacks. But does anyone ever monitor your brushing speed?
Reader’s Digest advises slowing down the time you spend brushing your teeth to 2 full minutes. The consequence of aggressive brushing is the breakdown of enamel coating your teeth. The thinner the layer of enamel, the more you’ll experience sensitivity to hot and cold and a greater chance of decay. Gentle strokes at a gradual pace are the hallmark of a strong smile that will last throughout the years.
Immediately Grabbing the Toothbrush After a Meal
You’ve heard the rumors. Brushing immediately after you eat will prevent harmful bacteria from tarnishing your teeth. This may be true, but different rules apply when the foods are acidic, and this could be one of those poor dental habit you wouldn’t expect.
Foods such as oranges have an acidic property that softens tooth enamel. If you brush right after eating them, you may unintentionally lose that precious enamel. Saliva regulates the acidic level in your teeth so hold off brushing until they’ve had time to recover.
The recommended wait time is about 30 minutes. Why not use that time to start flossing?
Taking Forever to Drink that Lemon Water!
Speaking of acid, one refreshing drink that many people enjoy is lemon water. There’s nothing wrong with adding a little pizzazz to your water, as long as you know the proper way to drink it.
Never sip lemon water for long periods of time. Acid erosion can tear away at your enamel. The longer the acid sits on teeth, the more damage it will cause. The same thing can be said for wine.
It’s okay to have a glass, just don’t spend too long drinking it. And refrain from consuming multiple drinks over the course of a day. You’ll protect your teeth and still get to enjoy what you love.
Choosing the Wrong Type of Water
Bottled water is convenient. When you’re on the go, reaching for that slim plastic bottle and shoving in it in your cup holder is the fastest way to get started on the day. For some people, it even tastes better than regular tap.
But sometimes taste should take a backseat to health. Fluoride, a compound found in tap water, has been widely known to help prevent tooth decay. While a debate rages over the amount of fluoride one should ingest, fluoride should not be neglected in your diet.
Unfortunately, some bottled water brands do not contain fluoride, leaving many to miss out on its benefits. Always check the label to be sure your bottled water contains fluoride. Preventive measures like these are what save your teeth in the long run.
There are a number of poor dental habits you could get into. Remember that your teeth serve as the foundation for the health of your entire body. Keeping them in tip-top form prevents inflammation that can worsen diseases such as diabetes and increase the risk of others. Kick these poor dental habits now and you’ll be in better shape for life. Contact us at Valeriano Orthodontics to schedule your complimentary consultation!