Healthy habits that can damage teeth may seem like an impossible reality, but it’s true. There are some good habits for your health that may actually be harmful to your teeth. When you develop habits to improve your well-being, you aren’t always aware of the problems they could cause for your teeth. The following 10 healthy habits that can damage teeth may surprise you….
Do you immediately grab your toothbrush after you eat? Brushing regularly is commendable, but as they say, timing is everything. When you consume something acidic, like oranges or tomatoes, your tooth enamel temporarily softens and becomes susceptible to abrasive wear. If you brush your teeth while they are in this softened state, you can remove tooth enamel, which can lead to sensitive teeth.
To protect your teeth, wait 30 to 60 minutes after eating before you brush. Conclude your meal with dairy products, such as milk or a slice of cheddar cheese, which will raise the pH inside your mouth and release calcium and other substances that fight plaque.
Some people tend to “scrub” their teeth, which over stresses the gum tissue and causes your gum line to recede. Overly vigorous cleaning can also cause your teeth to be sensitive as the protective layer of enamel thins. Brush gently for at least two minutes twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush.
If you have a chronic health condition, you may need to take prescribed medications that have side effects that cause dry mouth. This can be a problem for your oral health, putting you at a higher risk of developing tooth decay. Dry mouth from medication is due to the medicine decreasing the flow of saliva, which helps protect your teeth. Don’t stop taking your medication, but sip water throughout the day to keep your mouth rinsed out. You can also increase saliva flow with sugarless gum, sugar-free mints, sprays, gels and tablets designed specifically for dry mouth.
Fresh lemon juice is a popular trend that offers many health benefits. It aids digestion, strengthens immunity, and cleanses your body of toxins. Although it is good for you, it can be very harmful to your tooth enamel by raising the level of acid in your mouth. If you sip it throughout the day over a prolonged period of time, you’re constantly bathing your teeth in an acidic solution. If you have noticed that your teeth are sensitive to hot and cold, cut back on the lemon water and use a toothpaste for sensitive teeth.
Fruit juice has multiple vitamins and antioxidants which are healthy for you, but most juices are also loaded with sugar, often the same amount as a serving of soda. Fruits are naturally sweet, so look for juice that has no added sugar. You can also reduce the sugar content by diluting the juice with some water. Citrus juice is acidic and it is a major offender when it comes to dental erosion.
Physical activity has many benefits; improving your cardiovascular system, controlling weight and even helps with mood management. If you participate in impact sports such as ice hockey, martial arts or boxing, your teeth can pay the price if they aren’t properly protected. A mouthguard fitted by Dr. Shane S. Porter of Premier Dentistry of Eagle can protect your mouth while you participate in these healthy ventures.
Intense exercise may also affect the quantity and quality of your saliva, which raises the pH level in your mouth. Both of these changes in saliva have a negative impact on your teeth. If you are active in sports, you need to practice meticulous oral hygiene habits and have regular dental visits with Dr. Porter.
Cough drops are medicinal, but that doesn’t mean they are healthy. Most cough drops are loaded with sugar, and whether the sugar comes from a cough drop or hard candy, it reacts with the sticky plaque that coats your teeth. Bacteria in the plaque convert the sugar into an acid that eats away at tooth enamel. After soothing your throat with a cough drop, rinse out your mouth with a glass of water, wait 30-60 minutes and then be sure to brush your teeth thoroughly.
Although drinking diet soda seems like a healthy alternative to regular soda because it is sugar free, it also contains phosphoric and citric acids, which eat away at tooth enamel. Drink sugar-free, calorie-free water instead.
Cold sports drinks are refreshing after a good workout, and since they aren’t carbonated, they should be good for you, right? Think again! These drinks are high in sugar and they also create an acid attack on the enamel of your teeth. The best way to stay hydrated is to drink sugar-free, calorie-free water.
Water is the healthiest drink for people of all ages, but does it make a difference to your oral health if you drink tap water versus bottled water? Many people buy bottled water as their main source of drinking water. If bottled water is the only kind you drink, you’re missing out on a potential 25 percent reduction in tooth decay.
Fluoridated tap water is endorsed by several leading health organizations and is proven to reduce tooth decay in both children and adults, it’s cost-effective, and also cuts down on the environmental impact that bottled water can cause.
Studies show that ninety-eight percent of all dental disease can be avoided by brushing twice daily with fluoride toothpaste, flossing once a day, along with regular dental check-ups.
Dr. Porter has proudly served his patients with comprehensive dental care since 1999. Located in Eagle at 467 South Rivershore Lane, our office is easily accessible to patients in the surrounding communities of Star, Middleton, Meridian, Garden City, and Boise. Call our office at (208) 546-0655 or check online to make an appointment.
Kudos to you for establishing healthy habits, just make sure you’re not damaging your teeth in the process!