A white and healthy smile seems evermore desirable these days, with Americans spending $1.4 billion on at home whitening products in the year 2015 alone. Many people who crave this look are unwittingly doing damage to their teeth in some way. Teeth are slowly damaged through many everyday practices, either by eroding the enamel on the teeth or by allowing plaque buildup. Here are nine of the most common mistakes people will make in their oral-hygiene routine, or the general treatment of their teeth, that will contribute to damage that can be permanent.
Brushing Too Hard
Brushing too hard can eventually erode the enamel on the teeth which leaves them vulnerable to staining, and it is important to recognize the appropriate strength in which to brush the teeth. Stains or sugary drinks can force individuals to brush harder than they need to and this can be very damaging. Using a softer toothbrush and a 45-degree angle while brushing can help to protect valuable enamel on the teeth. There are kinds of toothpaste on the market that change colour when in contact with the plaque in the mouth and these are recommended by many because they can show a person exactly where to brush. Brushing the teeth too often can have the same damaging effects on enamel as brushing the teeth too hard. Although brushing the teeth wrong can be harmful, it pales in comparison to the next entry in this slideshow.
Flossing can be beneficial to the health of the teeth and mouth, but many people are doing it wrong. Snapping or popping the floss between the teeth is highly discouraged by dental experts because it will damage the gums. Once the gums begin to recede from this type of harm, the sensitive root of the tooth can become exposed which can lead to more damage and pain in the mouth. Flossing and brushing should both be routine oral-hygiene practices, but doing both of them too much, or using the wrong technique, can have damaging effects on teeth. The best technique is to wrap a piece of floss around a tooth in a c-shape and ease it around the teeth to remove food and other damaging sugar or acid build-up.
Grinding The Teeth
Grinding the teeth is not only just an annoying habit for some people it can also produce damaging results to the teeth. Many who grind their teeth are completely unaware of it, but there are various ways to tell if an individual grinds their teeth while they sleep. If a person wakes up with their teeth in a clenching motion, they may have been grinding their teeth during the night. Grinding the teeth can also lead to painful headaches as well as muscle strain, especially in the head and facial area. Many who are affected by teeth grinding while asleep have taken to using small mouth guards that protect the teeth from the grinding motion. These mouth guards are reasonably easy to find and can even be custom-made by a dentist.
Not Defending The Teeth Against Stains
Coffee is one of the most beloved beverages on the planet but also one the major factors in staining teeth in the modern world. Coffee helps bacteria in the mouth create acids that are damaging to the teeth, and the rich colour of the drink can also be responsible for discolouring the teeth. Eating food before drinking coffee as well as drinking a glass of water or even brushing or rinsing the mouth afterwards will combat the adverse effects coffee will have on the teeth. A glass of red wine is also a primary culprit in teeth damage and could be stuck on the teeth for hours after it is consumed. A glass of water should always accompany a red wine to avoid stains and damage. A thin layer of petroleum jelly on the teeth will also provide a protective shield, and although it may seem like a weird and gross practice, the results speak for themselves.
Using Teeth For Everything
The tips of the teeth are the thinnest part of a tooth, so, therefore, it is easier to damage as well as wear away. Using the teeth to consistently open packaging is a terrible habit to get into and will cause chips and even the shape of teeth to change. Sharp teeth that can tear through a plastic packaging will eventually lose this sharpness due to this damaging habit. According to many dentists, pen and pencil chewing, as well as chewing fingernails are also considered bad habits that can similarly damage the teeth. Chips, fractures, and long-term damage can be the result of opening one too many beer bottles or packets of chips with the teeth. Save your teeth and invest in a Swiss Army Knife.
Using Mouthwash Improperly
Bacteria thrive in the mouth when it is dry, and many conventional alcohol-based types of mouthwash will contribute to this. Although alcohol-based mouthwashes can cause dryness, they are still recommended because of their effectiveness. Rinsing the mouth with water and then grabbing a nice, fresh glass of it to drink after rinsing with mouthwash will lessen the mouth drying effects. That dry feeling in the mouth every morning can also cause bad breath which is where the term “morning breath” originates. Alcoholic drinks can also have the same mouth-drying effect as alcohol-based mouthwash, so chugging a bottle of water after a night out will also help the mouth the maintain a healthy level of moisture overnight.
The acids and sugar within fruit will cause a softening of the protective enamel on the teeth which can cause cavities. Waiting 45 minutes after consuming a smoothie to brush teeth is good practice because the enamel on the teeth will not be as vulnerable to damage from brushing after a little time has passed. To consume smoothies and minimize damage to the teeth many experts will recommend drinking it through a straw which will keep a lot of the sugars and acids from sticking to the teeth. It is also suggested that smoothies should be drunk reasonably quickly and not consumed as a day-long beverage due to the high acid and sugar content which will stick to the teeth all day. Also, a bottle of water nearby, or even diluting the smoothie, can help to lessen damage to the teeth.
As well better breath, gum, specifically sugar-free gum, should be chewed over sugar-laden counterparts to maintain a healthy mouth. The action of gum-chewing can remove plaque from the teeth as well as creating saliva in the mouth which can act as a protective barrier for the teeth. It is essential that gum is sugar-free because gum that has sugar content can be damaging to the teeth. Sugar-free gum is not an alternative to brushing by any means but if brushing is not practical then grab a pack of gum and chew after meals. Be careful though, too much chewing can lead to aggravation and discomfort in the jaw as well as various joints and muscles in the body, not to mention consuming too much gum can even cause diarrhea.
Breaking ice cubes with the teeth is almost as bad as chewing on a rock and can cause chips in the teeth that are costly to repair. The American Dental Association claim that during the summer months dental offices will experience an influx of patients with broken and chipped teeth from chewing on ice cubes. The best way to avoid chipped teeth or gum injuries from chewing on rock-hard ice cubes is to refrain from doing so. If ice must be eaten it is better to find the crushed or blended ice or if it is just the sensation of the crunch that is wanted then try a baby carrot or an apple. There is a fascinating link between the desire to eat ice and the human body; If an individual is craving ice constantly and always chewing on ice cubes, it could be symptomatic of iron deficiency anemia.