Learning how to take care of your teeth is a basic part of growing up, like learning to tie your shoes, recite the alphabet, or memorize multiplication tables.
You brush. You floss. You avoid sugary foods and you visit your Glen Waverley dentist regularly. Sometimes it seems as easy as A-B-C.
However, when it comes to our teeth, many of us still have a thing or two to learn, particularly about “unknown” bad habits that might threaten our teeth. Here are seven facts about your pearly whites that you might not know, even after all these years.
Everyday Habits That Harm Your Teeth
1) Using teeth as tools. At one point or another we are all faced with a plastic bag that refuses to open or a piece of string that needs cutting. The temptation to use your teeth as a tool may be great, but it is dangerous.
Your teeth have been designed by evolution to bite, chew and grind food. And, of course, to smile! While they can handle the toughest foods, they are not meant to be used to replace tools. The forces applied by using teeth as tools can greatly increase the chances of suffering a chip, fracture, or even worse complications.
Don’t use your teeth as a tool, take the extra time to go to your tool drawer or box and get the proper tool!
2) Dangerous chewing. Many people nibble on foreign including pencils and pens. Biting fingernails and crunching ice is also quite common. Here at EK Dental Surgery our team of dental professionals always warn our patients about the dangers of giving in to these bad habits as they can chip or fracture a tooth. It’s also possible for a piece of a foreign object to break off and puncture your gums, or get painfully stuck between your teeth.
If you have to chew, chew sugar-free gum!
Exercise and Your Teeth
3) Cardiovascular exercise. A new German study suggests that long cardio workouts may take a toll on your teeth. Exercise reduces saliva, which is filled with minerals that nurture your teeth and neutralise acids that cause rotting. Consumption of acidic sports drinks during training can also exacerbate tooth decay. Chewing sugar-free gum during your work-out will boost your saliva production.
4) Weightlifting. Jaw-clenching is a common reaction to lifting weights, but such pressure can harm your teeth, even cause them to crack. The practice could also lead to jaw pain.
Consider wearing a mouth-guard, which can be easily purchased at a pharmacy or sports store. You could even have your dentist make a custom gear for you.
5) Contact sports. When Jeff Horn won the WBO Welterweight Championship, EK Dental Surgery joined all of Australia in congratulating him, but we made special note of how his custom-made mouth-guard meant that he could celebrate his win with a big smile. If you are going to practice any contact sport, follow Jeff Horn’s example and wear a custom-fitted mouthpiece to protect your teeth and jaw!
Can “Dental Health” Harm Your Dental Health?
6) Brushing after meals. Many people are surprised to learn that brushing immediately after a meal can harm their teeth. Acids created by food can wear away protective enamel leaving teeth at their weakest state directly after eating.
Saliva corrects the high acid levels in your mouth, naturally washes away food particles, and gives your enamel the balance it needs to continue its protective work. Even soft-bristled toothbrushes can be highly abrasive if enamel is already weakened by high acid levels. It’s best to let saliva do its job after you eat. But don’t forget to brush altogether. Just wait at least an hour after your meal before brushing.
7) Brushing too hard. Overly harsh brushing can cause wear and tear on your teeth, weakening the enamel and making it more prone to decay. Your teeth can also become more sensitive as a result.
Brushing too hard can also contribute to gum disease. Your gum tissue can become inflamed and damaged, and oral bacteria can target it. As periodontal disease progresses, the symptoms become more severe, such as tooth and bone loss, which could necessitate oral surgery. Brushing too hard can even cause gum recession, which could require a gum graft to replace the missing tissue.
To avoid such consequences, you should check with us at EK Dental Surgery for a refresher course on good brushing technique. Also, don’t use a toothbrush with too-hard bristles, or consider moving to an electric toothbrush.
Your Trusted Dentist in Glen Waverley
At EK Dental Surgery your oral health is important to us. We provide gentle, expert care for all conditions and work to prevent disease, decay, and too many dentist appointments in the future. Our commitment to our patients is dental health for Valentine’s Day and beyond!
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