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8 Terrible Habits for Your Dental Health

TMJ Treatment 1 Highland, MI | Highland Advanced Dental Care

World Oral Health Day is coming up on March 20th, a day designed to raise awareness about dental issues and their connection to bodily well-being.

Research is ongoing about this link, and is showing again and again that if you want to avoid heart problems, diabetes, and other systemic diseases, taking excellent care of your dental health is a good step to take.

This means brushing twice per day, flossing daily, and visiting us at Highland Advanced Dental Care every six months for a cleaning and exam.

It also means cutting out bad dental habits. Read on to learn about how you may be hurting your teeth and gums, and call Highland Advanced Dental Care of Highland Township, MI at 248-329-3552.

 

Overzealous Brushing

You are an oral hygiene obsessive. You are doing everything right: brushing, flossing, scrubbing those teeth to get them clean. Hold up a minute — brushing with too much pressure will do more harm than good. You will wear away the enamel and risk gum damage and recession. And that makes you susceptible to sensitivity, tooth decay, and infection.

So be sure to be thorough, reaching all areas of the teeth, and be diligent about a twice-daily schedule, but always use a soft-bristled toothbrush and ease up on the elbow grease.

 

Tobacco

Tobacco use is bad for you, period. You know this. And so it’s probably not surprising to you that it is bad for your oral health. Let us lay out the ways cigarettes and other tobacco products affect your teeth, gums, and mouth.

  • They will stain your teeth and tongue.
  • They will make your breath smell bad.
  • Your sense of taste and smell may be dulled.
  • Tobacco uses is one of the leading risk factors for gum disease.
  • Periodontal disease in smokers is more difficult to treat than in non smokers.
  • Smokers have an increased risk of developing oral cancer.
  • Oral surgery heals more slowly in tobacco users.

The American Cancer Society has compiled some helpful resources and information to help you quit.

 

Snacking

You know that what you eat matters. But how you eat counts too. When you consume foods and drinks (particularly those high in sugar and other carbs), bacteria multiply and start producing acids that eat away at your tooth enamel. If you confine your eating to meals, your teeth will undergo three acid attacks. If, however, you snack throughout the day (or consume sugary or acidic beverages), your teeth are under constant barrage from these harmful acids and a film of plaque forms over the enamel. It doesn’t help that popular snacks, like chips and pretzels, tend to be high in carbohydrates, bacteria’s favorite food. If you do crave a snack, choose a tooth-healthy option like an apple, cheese, or nuts.

 

Using Teeth as Tools

While they are strong, our teeth are not a swiss army knife. They are meant for chewing. So don’t use your beautiful pearly whites to tear the tags off your new dress. Or to open that bag of chips. Go find the scissors and use your teeth for their intended purpose. This way, you are less likely to end up with a dental emergency.

 

Chewing Your Nails

This is a nervous habit that you may do while not even thinking about it. But you should make an effort to keep your fingernails out of your mouth. When you gnaw on your fingernails, the appearance of your nails will surely suffer, becoming ragged and, well, chewed up. You may also end up cracking or breaking a tooth. Ouch! Plus, there is the bacteria factor. You will transfer bacteria from your hand to your mouth and vice versa, promoting the spread of infection and disease.

Grinding Your Teeth

Tooth clenching and grinding, also called Bruxism, often happens at night. It may be caused by stress and anxiety. If left unchecked, it may wear down your tooth enamel, lead to gum injury, and cause jaw pain and TMJ problems. Eliminating the sources of stress or practicing relaxation techniques may help. And at Highland Advanced Dental Care, we can craft a custom night guard that prevents you from grinding your teeth while you sleep.

 

Drinking Sugar

When you imbibe soft drinks, sports drinks, and fruit juices, you are coating your mouth in sugar. The sugar promotes the proliferation of bacteria that create acids that go to work eating away at your tooth enamel. Diet soda is problematic as well. It does not contain sugar, but it is high in damaging acids. A sugary beverage habit is a fast track to tooth decay.

Ditch these drinks for plain old H20. Sipping water throughout the day rinses away bacteria and food bits and helps neutralize acids. It’s a great way to help keep your mouth clean between meals. If you don’t have a reusable, portable bottle, get one right away and start the habit of filling it with tap water in the morning and carrying it with you throughout the day. Your teeth — and your entire body — will benefit.

 

Eating Gummy Candy

When it comes to your oral health, not all candy is the same. Chocolate is okay in moderation, because it washes off the teeth easily. Gummy, sticky, and hard candies, on the other hand are bad news for your teeth. The sticky stuff gets stuck in the grooves and crevices of your teeth and is difficult to remove completely. So bacteria feed off it over an extended period of time and produce lots of cavity-causing acids. Hard candies form a solution of saliva and sugar that also settles into the teeth. If you bite down on them, you risk cracking a tooth. So if you’ve developed a gummy bear habit, swipe it out for (an occasional) chocolate habit.

 

Ditch the bad dental habits, and you have an excellent chance of keeping your teeth and gums in good shape for life. Of course, you also have to maintain the good habits, like excellent oral hygiene at home and visits every six months to Highland Advanced Dental Care. To schedule your next cleaning and exam, reach out online or call our Highland Township, MI office at 248-329-3552.

 

 

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