Hopefully we’ve instilled in you the importance of sticking to good oral health habits — like brushing and flossing consistently and visiting us for a cleaning and exam every six months. But equally vital is not sabotaging your best efforts with bad dental habits that you may or may not be aware that you’re engaging in.
Here we’ve outlined five habits that have the potential to destroy health of your mouth. No behavior is worth gum disease, cavities, and tooth loss.
Break these behaviors, and you increase the likelihood that your teeth and gums will stay healthy and intact for life.
One habit that you do want to continue is the habit of regular dental visits. In Louisville, KY, call Natural Smiles at 502-785-8695 to schedule a checkup.
It’s well known that cigarettes and other tobacco products are bad for your health. There are several ways in which tobacco will damage your teeth and gums specifically.
- It stains your teeth and tongue.
- It makes your breath smell bad.
- Smokers tend to have more plaque on their teeth.
- It is one of the biggest risk factors for developing gum disease. And gum disease in smokers is more difficult to treat than it is in non-smokers.
- Oral surgery takes longer to heal.
- Smokers have a lower dental implant success rate.
- People who use tobacco are at an increased risk for oral cancer.
We understand that quitting is extremely difficult. Here are a few helpful resources from The American Lung Association.
When you snack throughout the day, a nasty film of bacteria forms on your teeth. These microbes create acids that subject your enamel to continuous attack. If, on the other hand, you restrict your eating to mealtimes, your teeth will be exposed to acids only a few times per day. Plus, the foods we love to snack on tend to be the worst for our teeth: starchy, carby, sugary. If you do need a snack, stick to a tooth-friendly option like a handful of carrot sticks, cheese, or an apple.
Equally harmful is the habit of imbibing sugary or acidic beverages like soda, juice, and sports drinks. If you’re thirsty, choose plain water, which hydrates your body and keeps your mouth clean of bacteria and food particles.
Teeth Grinding or Clenching
Teeth grinding and clenching, or bruxism, is a nervous habit that often occurs at night as you sleep. Even though you may not even realize you are doing it, it can have serious consequences on your health. You will likely wear down your tooth enamel, which does not replenish itself. The habit may also damage your gums and cause them to recede. Bruxism may also lead to pain in your TMJ or jaw, facial muscle soreness, bite problems, and headaches.
Eliminating some of the stress in your life may help or, if that’s not possible, learning to manage it through relaxation and other techniques. At Natural Smiles, we can create a custom mouthguard for you to wear at night. This will keep your jaw in a position that prevents you from grinding your teeth. We can also inject you with a facial relaxant that relieves your pain.