At Clinton Dental Center, we believe that education and prevention are essential when it comes to protecting your teeth. When our patients tell us stories about how they sliced their tongue, chipped their tooth, or lost a crown, it reminds us that there are some bad habits out there that, while evident to us, may not be so clear to you. With that in mind, here is a list of five bad habits you should break to avoid harming your teeth and mouth.
- Playing sports without a mouthguard — You may not consider yourself an athlete, but even if you’re playing a pick-up game of ball with your neighbors, you should be wearing a mouthguard. After all, all it takes is an untied shoelace or a strategically placed elbow to send you tumbling to the ground. Investing in a good mouthguard is far more affordable than elaborate reconstructive procedures.
- Chewing on ice — Chewing on ice may keep you cool on a hot day, but it’s wreaking havoc on your teeth. The same goes for chewing on things that do not belong in your mouth, such as a pens, pencils, or fingernails. In order to break your ice-chewing habit, try sipping cold drinks through a straw so you’re not tempted to chew. As for other chewing habits, try coating them with a solution intended to prevent nail-biting; the unpleasant taste will remind you that your pen is not food.
- Using your teeth as tools — You’re at a tailgate and someone passes you a can of soda. Your fingers are slippery from potato chips, so you take your teeth to the tab and pull. This, along with removing bottle caps, opening bags, and opening those impossible plastic packages, can scratch your enamel, crack or chip your teeth, and even irritate your gums. Invest in a good multi-tool so you always have the right implement and won’t be reduced to using your teeth.
- Drinking sports drinks — You may think this is a healthier alternative to soda, but it’s not. Just like their bubbly counterparts, sports drinks have acids that damage enamel and sugars that lead to decay. Plain water is always best as far as your teeth are concerned, but if a sports beverage in order, avoid sipping on it all day and be sure to rinse with water after you finish to minimize the amount of acidity and sugar you expose your teeth to.
- Brushing immediately after eating or drinking acidic foods — Whether it’s a sports drink, water with lemon, or a juicy orange, acidity weakens your enamel. When you brush immediately after enjoying one of these acidic treats, you are effectively removing miniscule bits of enamel from your teeth, increasing your risk of tooth decay and sensitivity. The best course of action is to rinse with water immediately after you finish and wait about 30-40 minutes before brushing to preserve your enamel.
If you’re avoiding these bad habits, you’ve already got a head start to healthy teeth. If you’re guilty of one or two, we promise we won’t judge. To ensure that your teeth are at their strongest, contact our office to schedule an appointment. We proudly serve patients in Chesterfield, Michigan, and the surrounding communities.