You might already know how to protect your teeth against plaque and cavities, but did you know that some of your daily habits can damage your teeth? Oral care is a 24/7 job, and even if you have the best intentions, you might still be damaging your teeth without your knowledge. Find out how to protect your teeth from the most unusual culprit: yourself!
According to the ADA, acidic food and drink can erode your enamel, your first line of defense against tooth decay. Once your enamel is gone, it will not grow back. You might be destroying your enamel with citrus fruits, wine, and soda. Reduce your intake of acidic beverages and avoid snack grazing. For example, if you snack on an acidic fruit (like an orange), balance it with a base snack (like string cheese). This will help counter the effects of the acid.
Using Your Teeth as a Tool
Your teeth are a formidable enemy against annoying plastics, but your teeth were meant to break down food, not material. Your can crack or chip or teeth if you try to regularly use them as a scissor. Remember that tooth damage is permanent. You will need to see a dentist if you crack or chip your teeth. Make wiser choices in your tool selection, and use your teeth for their intended purpose.
Brushing After You Eat
Somewhere in your youth, you might have been told to brush your teeth after meals. The ADA strongly recommends the opposite: if you brush your teeth after eating acidic or abrasive foods, you are actually doing more harm to your teeth than good. Protect your enamel: if you brush your teeth after meals, rinse your mouth first with water and wait 30 to 40 minutes before gently brushing your teeth.
People grind their jaws (and teeth) for any number of unique reasons: stress, cardio activities, habit, etc. What you’re really doing is putting intense pressure on your teeth, putting them at risk for microfractures or cracks. The long-term of effects of jaw grinding, also called bruxism, can cause receding gums.
Not Staying Hydrated
Don’t underestimate the importance of saliva. According to the ADA, your oral hygiene depends on your saliva to wash away food debris, moisten food for easier chewing, and providing calcium, fluoride, and phosphate to the surface of your teeth. Stay hydrated and chew regularly to continue to produce adequate amounts of spit.