Many of us are unaware of how certain physical activities, foods, and drinks could be destroying our teeth and gums. No matter how much time we spend flossing and brushing, some bad habits continue to damage our oral health. While some of the habits mentioned below can cause immediate damage, like breaking or cracking teeth, others may affect them in the long run. So, it’s vital to educate yourself not just on how to keep your pearly whites white but to also avoid harming them long term. For this reason, experts at a trusted Brampton dental office have created this blog post to help you avoid accidentally damaging your teeth.
Here Are the Top 7 Bad Habits Damaging Your Oral Health
Smoking not only stains and discolours teeth, it also gives you bad breath, reduces your sense of smell and taste, and puts you at risk for oral cancer. Smoking is also linked to a higher risk of tooth decay and can cause cavities which can result in tooth loss in severe cases. Tobacco is known to reduce blood flow to the gums which is one of the leading causes of gum disease and can lead to oral cancer. (Although chewing tobacco is better for your lungs, it’s a lot worse for your mouth.)
- Multiple Medications
Some medications cause dry mouth, and when the mouth lacks adequate moisture, it makes teeth vulnerable to enamel erosion, acid attacks, cavities, and gum disease. Having a dry mouth is uncomfortable as well. Ask your doctor if this is a side effect of one of your medications and whether taking topical supplements or a dry mouth relief solution is a better alternative.
- Pool Water
If you swim in chlorinated pools regularly, the chlorine, along with other chemicals in the water, can have a corrosive effect on tooth enamel. Avoid getting pool water in your mouth and consult your Brampton dentist about how to counter its harmful effects.
- Thumb Sucking
Most young children suck their thumbs, but this usually stops once their permanent teeth start coming in. However, if your child continues to suck their thumb, it could cause permanent change to both their jaw and teeth. Thumb-sucking can also cause tooth misalignment and in some cases lead to issues with speech, chewing, and breathing. Severe cases of misalignment may require orthodontic treatments. It is best to stop your child from sucking their thumb as early as possible.
- Teeth Clenching and Grinding
Many individuals involuntarily clench and grind their teeth, even when asleep. The habit is called bruxism and is often triggered by stress and in some cases sleep apnea. It is difficult to control clenching and grinding during sleep, but you should investigate the root cause before you begin treatment. If you have sleep apnea, use a night guard prescribed by your dentist to enjoy a restful night’s sleep and prevent any major damage to teeth. Both grinding and clenching can result in fractured, broken, or chipped teeth, requiring a dental crown or other form of dental implant. Over a long period of time, teeth clenching and grinding can lead to chronic facial pain, as well as joint and muscle dysfunction, also known as temporomandibular joint and muscle disorder, or TMJ. The best way to avoid clenching and grinding is to try relaxation exercises like meditation and yoga. Also, you will have to make a conscious effort to keep your teeth slightly apart during the day.
- Brushing Too Hard
Brushing teeth daily is part of a good oral hygiene routine, but brushing vigorously can be harmful. It can irritate your gums, wear down enamel, and make teeth sensitive. Instead, try switching to soft bristle brushes and use softer strokes when brushing gums and teeth.
- Crunching Ice Cubes
Although this may seem harmless, crunching ice can cause serious damage to teeth. Since ice cubes have a crystalline structure that is similar to tooth enamel, crunching them can result in either of the two breaking. Unfortunately, it’s usually the tooth that sustains the injury. So, stop crunching ice if you can, or else, at least steer clear of large chunks. Chewing on ice chips or shaved ice can significantly reduce tooth damage.
We understand that it’s difficult, but breaking bad habits is a great way to boost your overall dental health. Visit your dental office in Brampton if you’re worried about your habits getting worse and affecting your oral health. Also, remember to schedule routine examinations with your dentist to keep your oral health in great shape.