At BigSmile Dental Clinic, we always like to educate our patients on ways to maintain the health of their teeth so that they can maximise their benefits from orthodontic treatment. After all, nobody wants to invest in lingual or invisible braces and run the risk of ruining the result.
Of course, there are poor dental habits like not flossing or brushing your teeth and improper use of toothpicks that will lead to negative results in the mouth, such as developing black triangles.
In this post, we will take a look at some of the common harmful dental practices and habits that you might not know are destroying your teeth.
Habit #1: Teeth grinding
Bruxism, or teeth clenching and grinding, as they call it, can affect your teeth significantly. While the occasional daytime teeth-grinding habit may not be a significant concern, prolonged bruxism, especially when it happens while you sleep, can result in severe consequences.
Excessive teeth grinding can result in various consequences, such as loose teeth, earaches, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction, headaches, damaged restorations, fractured or chipped teeth, and excessive wear of the enamel.
One way to prevent damage from teeth grinding is to wear a night guard. However, depending on the exact cause of the issue, other treatments, such as muscle relaxants, stress or anxiety medications, meditation, and Botox injections, are found to help correct or minimise teeth grinding.
Habit #2: Chewing on hard items, such as pencils and ice
Excessive chewing on hard items such as pencils and ice can wear away your enamel, which is a crucial element in protecting your teeth. As your enamel erodes, the dentine layer of your teeth becomes exposed, becoming more vulnerable to decay and becoming more sensitive to cold and hot temperatures.
Additionally, when the underlying dentin becomes exposed, the tooth can appear even more yellow. Chewing on hard items is also the culprit behind chipped and cracked teeth as well as worn-down bite edges. We have seen patients damage the tissues of their mouth due to chewing on hard items, resulting in hairline cracks in their enamel.
Habit #3: Brushing your teeth immediately after consuming something acidic
Incorporating acidic food, such as citrus fruits and tea, into your diet is beneficial for your health. However, if you consume acidic foods, brushing your teeth immediately after consuming them could be harmful to your teeth.
Acidic foods weaken your enamel for up to an hour after you consume them. If you brush before the pH level in your mouth is neutralised by the ionic buffers in your saliva, you can unknowingly damage your enamel because the acidic environment accelerates enamel erosion caused by the abrasive action of toothbrushing.
After taking acidic foods, it may be a good idea to consume non-acidic foods so that your saliva continues to flow to wash away the acids and also to buffer the acidity. If you don’t feel like eating anything after the acidic food, then you should rinse your mouth vigorously several times to wash away the acids.
You can rinse your mouth with water and brush your teeth in the morning after breakfast. A piece of sugarless mint can help you avoid coffee breath while encouraging the production of saliva. Copious amounts of saliva help to mask any unpleasant odours emanating from our mouth.
Habit #4: Using your teeth as a tool
Many of us have the habit of using our teeth to rip a stubborn tag off or tear open plastic packaging. However, that habit damages our teeth more than we think, increasing the risk of fracturing our teeth.
Using our teeth as a tool in that way weakens them, resulting in cracks or chips that lead to unsightly aesthetics, stains in the cracks, and painful fractures. Cutlery is designed to aid us in preparing our food for consumption. Make use of them so that your teeth have less work to do.
Habits #5: Constant sipping and snacking
How often you drink and eat is as important as what you drink and eat. Every time you eat, plaque bacteria feed on the starches and sugars, releasing cavity-causing acids.
As mentioned earlier, it takes up to an hour for the pH level in the mouth to neutralise. Every sipping and snacking restarts that clock all over again, exposing your teeth to more acids.
Do you know that snacking results in less saliva production than consuming a full meal? This means that whatever bits of food that are stuck in your mouth are not as effectively washed away by your saliva, causing them to sit on your teeth for prolonged periods.
In order to avoid teeth damage and decay, reducing snacking and frequent drinking of beverages will help. And if you do want to snack, consume foods that are low in carbohydrates. Such smile-friendly foods include foods such as carrots, cucumber and nuts.
Some of the habits that we have listed above are things that we do but do not know could damage our teeth. We all have only one set of adult teeth in our lifetime. What we do to them and how we maintain our oral health matters.
Nevertheless, you can also boost your dental health with orthodontic treatment. In fact, an aligned bite and straight teeth help to keep your jaw strong and healthy and are also easier to clean. Contact BigSmile Dental Clinic today to inquire about our treatment options and how we can help you achieve a better and healthier smile!