14 Tips to Avoid Damage to Teeth and Gums
We love our teeth and we try our best to keep them in the perfect and healthiest condition. However, even our best efforts will not be enough if we keep doing all the bad things that wreak havoc on them. Here are some of the things everyone needs to avoid to keep those teeth white and sparkly, and those gums strong and healthy.
1) Chewing Ice
If you have the habit of chewing on ice when you finish your drink, you might want to stop doing that once you realize how it causes damage to your teeth. It can cause the tooth enamel to wear down. You can also cause your teeth to fracture, crack, or chip off if you’re not careful.
2) Playing Rough Sports without a Mouth Guard
There’s a reason why most athletes wear a mouth guard whenever they play. Those who play contact or collision sports often take a hit to their mouths or jaws. Without a mouth guard, your teeth can get shattered or knocked out. A tooth replacement can cost thousands of dollars, so make sure your teeth are protected when you engage in rough physical activities.
3) Having Tongue Piercings
Your tongue jewelry can also bring damage to your teeth by chipping, cracking and fracturing them. It may look cool and edgy, but tongue piercings can also cause a gap to form between your two front teeth. If your tongue piercing rubs against your gums too often, it can also lead to gum damage, and eventually, tooth loss.
4) Grinding your Teeth
If you suffer from bruxism, which is the medical term for habitual or involuntary teeth grinding, you are wearing down your teeth over time. Not only that, you are also hurting the joints in your lower jaw. This can cause tightness and pain in your joints, and even lead to headaches and ear aches.
5) Taking Cough Drops Often
Cough drops can bring relief if you have a bad cough. However, they also contain a large amount of sugar that can be as damaging to your teeth as sweet and hard candy. And because cough drops and lozenges are packaged as medications, people usually don’t brush their teeth after having them. The sugar in the cough drops reacts with the teeth plaque, converting it to acid that slowly eats away at your teeth’s enamel.
6) Eating Gummy Candies
Who doesn’t love gummy bears and hard candies? They’re delicious and can satisfy your cravings, but they also leave your teeth feeling bad. All the sugars that come from gummy candies get converted to acid. If you get a piece of candy stuck to your tooth, you can also suffer from calcium loss. So if you want to minimize the damage to your teeth, brush your teeth after consuming gummy or hard candies.
7) Drinking Soda
In case you didn’t know, a serving of soda contains as much as 11 teaspoons of sugar. It also contains citric and phosphoric acids that can wreak havoc on your tooth enamel. It doesn’t matter whether it’s diet or not. Diet soda has more acid in it because of its artificial sweeteners. The more often you drink soda, the more you demineralize your teeth as well.
8) Using Teeth as a Tool
We’re all guilty of using our teeth to open packets, even soda bottles, when there are no scissors or bottle openers around. This is an unhealthy habit that makes dentists everywhere horrified. Doing this can cause your teeth to break or chip off. Remember that your teeth are there to bite, chew, and break down food. They’re not meant to replace kitchen tools.
9) Drinking Sports Drinks
They may be refreshing after an invigorating round of physical activity, but sports drinks contain a really high amount of sugar. The sugar content in these drinks break down into acid on your teeth. If you want to stay hydrated after a good and rigorous workout, simply chug down water and protect those pearly whites.
10) Smoking Cigarettes
Smoking is bad for your health. It’s also bad for your teeth. When you smoke, you increase your chances of gum disease, as well as tooth staining and tooth loss. There’s not enough oxygen that goes to the bloodstream, which slows down the healing of affected gums. Smoking also causes more dental plaque and gum disease to worsen.
11) Taking Birth Control Pills
If you’re taking birth control pills, it can cause your gums to become redder than usual and more swollen. It can also cause them to bleed more easily. Gum health can be affected by hormonal changes and cause gum tissue inflammation. Studies have also shown that women who use birth control pills also take a longer time to heal after a tooth extraction.
12) Having Poor Nutrition
Eating the wrong kinds of food can also take a toll on your teeth and gums. If you eat too much food that contain starches and sugars, you basically feed the bacteria that live in your mouth. These bacteria produce acids that break down the tooth enamel, leading to cavities and tooth decay.
13) Not Flossing Everyday
It’s not enough that you brush your teeth after every meal. You should also follow it up with a good round of flossing every day. It’s not enough that you floss forwards and backwards, though. You have to curve the floss around the tooth and floss up and down.
14) Using the Wrong Kind of Toothbrush
You may think that having hard bristles on your toothbrush can effectively remove more plaque. Think again. They can abrade your gum tissues, which don’t grow back once they’re gone. Make sure that you’re using a good, firm, but soft toothbrush and change it after every three months. When you fall sick due to a flu, change your toothbrush again to get rid of the viruses that can live inside your toothbrush long after the flu is gone.