Developing good dental care habits are mission critical when it comes to the health of your teeth and gums. In some cases, ending bad habits are equally important. Let’s take a look at 10 common glitches to good dental health and what you can do to quit them.
Alcohol, nicotine and, of course, hard core drugs are enemies of your teeth and gums. According to the American Addiction Centers, alcohol and substance abuse triggers the following dental issues:
- Dry mouth, which increases acid in the mouth and leads to rotting enamel
- Acid reflux, which also rots enamel and hurts soft tissue
- Grinding teeth
- Loss of blood flow to roots and gums
- Ulcers or sores in the mouth that can become infected
- A focus on attaining more drugs instead of caring for oral hygiene
- Nutritional deficiencies that can damage teeth and gums
- Greater intake of high-sugar food or beverages, which rots teeth
Whether you are a heavy partier or not, you’ve probably pulled the all-nighter, or were so tired before you finally hit the sack at 3 a.m. you went to bed without brushing and flossing. Sugar, bacteria and blood flow changes are the perfect tooth decay storm. So at the very least, use some mouthwash and drink water before you go to bed. And when you wake up, floss and brush.
You may look and feel cool when you open a bottle or can with your teeth. You may save five seconds ripping open a bag with your mouth instead of getting a scissor. But if you’re using your teeth as tools, chipping or cracking a tooth is a matter of time.
Be cognisant of the situations where you use your teeth as a tool and practice some self love. Imagine the pain and expense you’d have to go through if your tooth is harmed, and then take that next step of getting yourself a cool bottle opener or a pair of scissors. Your teeth are worth it.
There’s a reason why brushing and flossing two to three times a day is a best practice for dental care. That’s typically the number of meals we eat per day. So, when you snack during the day or in the evening, you really need to be brushing and flossing too. Take an inventory of how often you nibble and how often you clean your teeth. A 1:1 ratio is ideal.
Biting your fingernails or placing the cap of your pen in your mouth may seem benign, but you are running the risk puncturing gums and even cracking teeth if a hard object is bitten hard enough. Even riskier is the amount of bacteria you are unnecessarily putting into your mouth, which can cause colds, infection and tooth decay.
If you are on prescription medication make sure you understanding all the side effects including those that impact your mouth. It’s not uncommon for medications to increase canker sores as well as inflame gums, which complicates dental hygiene. The impact of medications does not end there. Dry mouth is another common medication side effect, and that means your mouth will not have its normal bacteria fighting system in place. So, make sure you hydrate and make life easier on your gums by eating more whole foods and less sugary snacks.
We’re not talking about the psychedelic kind, we’re talking about reducing the amount of acidic foods you put into your mouth daily. Some people like lemons, for instance. But these pops of vitamin C are enamel killers. Squirt the juice inside a glass of water instead.
When you brush your teeth too hard, you are wearing down the protective enamel of your teeth. Do your best to break that habit, and if you can’t, try a softer bristle toothbrush at least. Another self-inflicted issue is grinding your teeth, especially during sleep. Wearing a mouthguard at night is the defacto solution for keeping your teeth protected, but also consider meditation or any other kind of relaxation technique prior to calling it a night.
There’s blunt force and then there’s traumatic force like a car accident or a hockey puck to the mouth. Your only way to prevent tooth damage or loss is with a mouthguard and facemask, or not to play the sport at all. Remember, some sports that are not considered contact sports also put you at risk of dental injury. An elbow to the mouth in basketball and getting hit by a pitch in baseball are not uncommon experiences.
Tongue piercings and lip rings can be cool, but chipped teeth will never be a trend. Before you get a piercing, consider talking with your dentist first. He or she can prepare you for the potential risks of infection and bleeding much better than someone at the local mall.
If you suffer from that awful sensation of stomach acids rising up through your esophagus and into your mouth, you have our condolences. Acid reflux is awful, and it can lead to deterioration of the teeth thanks to all the excess acid in your mouth. There are medical treatments available, but avoiding snacks before bedtime and eating at least 3 to 4 hours before bedtime can help keep this condition at bay.