Most people develop habits in order to improve their well-being. But oftentimes, they are not aware of the problems that these harmless practices can cause to their pearly whites.
A Brisbane cosmetic dentist shares six seemingly ordinary habits that could be damaging your teeth along with tips to stop the damage.
1. Brushing Immediately After Eating Acidic Foods
Are you brushing your teeth immediately after eating? Brushing your teeth regularly is a good habit but you need to modify your timing.
If you eat something acidic, such as tomatoes, oranges, and certain types of dairy products, the enamel softens temporarily and becomes vulnerable to abrasive wear. When you brush your teeth immediately after eating, the enamel can be removed, leaving your teeth feeling sensitive. As you get older, it gets worse because your gums recede with age and the surface of the roots gets exposed.
Thus, dentists recommend waiting for about 30 minutes after eating to brush. This gives your saliva enough time to bring the acidity of your mouth down. Rinsing your mouth instead of brushing immediately after eating is a better option since water can help remove debris stuck between your teeth.
Also, you can brush your teeth before eating something acidic instead of after.
2. Not Wearing Dental Protection When Exercising
Physical activities can benefit your body. It helps with weight control, cardiovascular health, and mood management. Also, it improves your brain function.
However, participating in contact sports like martial arts and hockey can do plenty of things on your teeth when they are not properly protected. A mouth guard fitted by your dentist will protect your teeth by acting as a cushion. They are an invaluable tool if there is a risk of physical contact whether on the basketball court or on the rink.
3. Drinking Lemon Water
Lemon water is said to strengthen immunity, cleanse your body of toxins, and help digestion. It offers other health benefits as well and this is why drinking it is such a popular trend now.
However, acidic fruit juice is among the major culprits in terms of dental erosion. Even if you simply add a few slices of lemon in a glass of water, you are still elevating the acid level of your mouth.
To prevent lemon water from damaging your teeth, you have to delay brushing immediately after drinking it. It is also recommended that you use toothpaste for sensitive teeth and brush less forcefully. Its detrimental effect on your teeth can also be lessened if you use a straw and drink plain water soon afterwards. Moreover, avoid using hot water because the warmer temperature can intensify tooth damage.
4. Chewing Ice
The crunchy texture and the cold temperature of ice cubes are appealing to many. And if you also often chew on ice because it offers such sensory satisfaction, know that this habit is bad for your tooth enamel.
Once the enamel breaks down, your teeth will be susceptible to cavities and exposed to more bacteria. Also, the hard consistency of ice can destroy any dental work you have. In fact, it can even lead to small cracks. Over time, these cracks will become bigger and allow bacteria to enter and cause your teeth to fracture. Ice can be nice, especially during hot days, but only when you let it melt in your mouth.
5. Slowly Sipping Your Wine
Drinking alcohol in moderation offers benefits such as reducing the risks of heart attack, stroke, and diabetes. Red wine also has compounds that seem to boost your heart health and increase your good cholesterol levels. But if you are drinking a glass of wine for approximately two hours, you are compromising the health of your teeth.
Sipping wine means you are exposing your teeth to acid. But this does not necessarily mean that you swallow everything in one go; rather, you must also drink water in between sips of wine or eat some cheese in order to buffer the acid.
Red wine can stain your teeth while white wine contains a higher pH which causes faster damage. But don’t think of switching wine to sparkling beverages like carbonated water because this is also acidic.
6. Using Your Teeth as Tools
Do you often use your teeth to open your favorite snacks or to rip off a tag? Using your teeth as tools can damage them severely. Also, this can threaten your dental health. So whenever you have to open or cut something, reach for a pair of scissors.
Daily brushing and flossing, regular professional cleanings, dental examinations, and preventative dental treatments are crucial to keeping your teeth strong and healthy. But it is also important for you to get rid of the above-mentioned habits because they are doing more harm to your teeth than you might realize.
AUTHOR BIO Dr. Yvette Porter is the founding dentist at Apple Dental in Newstead, Brisbane, which she started over 11 years ago, and continues to own and practice there today. She works with a team of female dentists who aim to provide gentle, and affordable dental care to patients in Brisbane. Dr. Porter is a member of the Australian Dental Association and is passionate about family, and children’s dentistry, hoping to make their dental experience truly pleasant.