Sunday, August 25, 2013

Everyday Habits That Damage Your Teeth

Sugar, wine, and, yes, opening bottles with your teeth can hurt your smile

You plan meals, grab drinks, & play sports without  giving much thought to our teeth.  But you might not realize how food, beverages, and activities can wreck the health of your pearly whites. Twenty-five percent of the U.S. adults over age 65 have lost all their teeth- here's how you can protect your teeth.
Sugar and Teeth
Sugar is the No. 1 enemy of your teeth, and the longer it stays in your mouth, the worse it is. Sugar is consumed by acid-producing bacteria in your mouth.  The acids eats away @ tooth enamel.  Avoid foods like jelly candies, stick in your teeth longer than other foods and bathe them in sugar.  Dried fruit such as raisins are no better.  Reach for fresh fruit instead.

Beverages and Teeth
Soda is just plain bad for teeth, sugar -free or not. You are bathing teeth in an acid environment. Club soda is harmful, too, because of the acidity, and so are juices with added sugars.
Alcohol, even just a glass of wine, is also acidic and can erode the teeth.  In addition, alcohol dries out your mouth, reducing saliva production. Saliva bathes the teeth and helps remove plaque and bacterial accumulation from the teeth's surface.  Less plaque equals less risk for bacterial acids to cause decay. Rinse your mouth  with water between drinks.
Other Risks to Teeth
If you use your teeth snap off bottle caps, remove clothing tags, or open plastic bags,  stop immediately.  Smokers should also consider how the habit affects oral health.  Nicotine yellows teeth and can also cause oral cancer.  Chewing tobacco is even worse because the tobacco and associated carcinogens come into direct contact with the gums and soft tissues and stay there for a longtime.  Also ask your doctor or pharmacist if your medicines might cause dry mouth 
(Xerostomia). According to the American Dental Association, more than 500 medications---from pain relievers to antihistamines---can do so. Dry mouth inhibits saliva production and increases your risk of cavities
If you play contact sports, pick up a mouth guard @  a sports store or have your dentist make you a custom one for maximum protection and comfort.
You don't even have to be awake to damage your teeth. Research has shown that as many as 8% of Americans grind or clench their teeth (Nocturnal Bruxism), especially @ night. If this is you, schedule an appointment with your dentist to have an occlusal (night) guard fabricated .
Chewing on Ice , other objects such as pen, pencils & bobby pins can cause wear & tear on the tooth enamel surface covering the tooth.  If worn or chipped already, the ice can crack and damage the tooth structure.




Olga Martine said...

Remember, if you have dry mouth, you need to be extra careful to keep your teeth healthy. Make sure you:

1.Gently brush your teeth at least twice a day.
2.Floss your teeth every day.
3.Use toothpaste with fluoride in it. Most toothpastes sold at grocery and drug stores have fluoride in them.
4.Avoid sticky, sugary foods. If you do eat them, brush immediately afterwards.
5.Visit your dentist for a check-up at least twice a year. Your dentist might also suggest you use a prescription-strength fluoride gel (which is like a toothpaste) to help prevent dental decay.

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