Taking care of our teeth is critical to good health. However, three habits could potentially harm our teeth. Letting go of these habits is a positive step towards maintaining healthy teeth throughout your life.
Habit Number One – Nail Biting
This nervous habit can chip teeth and impact your jaw. However, there are several ways to overcome this nervous habit.
- Keep your nails trimmed short. Having shorter nails provides less to bite and is less tempting.
- Apply the bitter-tasting nail polish to your nails.
- Get regular manicures.
- Replace the nail-biting habit with a good habit.
- Identify your triggers.
- Try to stop biting your nails gradually.
Habit Number Two – Brushing Too Hard
A good rule of thumb is to wait 30 minutes before brushing your teeth after meals. In general, foods and drinks high in sugars/carbohydrates may promote the accumulation of bacteria in your mouth. These bacteria will damage your tooth enamel (protective layer) for 20-30 minutes. Please note it might seem appropriate to clean your teeth immediately, but that’s not always ideal.
If you consume acidic foods/beverages such as oranges, lemons, and grapefruits, it’s best to avoid brushing your teeth for 30 minutes. Your tooth enamel is at its weakest state during this time, and brushing may lead to unnecessary aggravation. In this case, it’s wiser to brush your teeth or drink water before consuming acidic foods. Brushing your teeth before consuming acidic foods helps cleanse the teeth and wash away pre-existing acids from previous meals.
In addition, some dentists recommend eliminating foods high in sugars or carbohydrates from your diet to prevent enamel erosion.
For example, sodas (regular and diet) are high in sugar, and phosphoric acid can cause substantial enamel erosion and permanent damage. Therefore, it’s best to limit or purge regular consumption of these soft drinks to improve your dental health. Talk to your family dentist for more information about proper brushing.
Brush Your Teeth Twice A Day
A common question is how many times a day should we brush our teeth? In most cases, official studies indicate the bare minimum is “twice a day” to maintain good oral health.
The goal of brushing your teeth is to remove food particles and plaque (sticky white biofilm) on or between your teeth. If ignored, the teeth will start to erode, break down, and give rise to cavities. In most cases, the plaque will turn into tartar, which is significantly harder to remove.
Please remember this should tie in with a comprehensive oral care regimen, including the following steps.
- Flossing (Daily)
- Consumption of Water (At Least Eight Glasses Per Day)
- Healthier Diet (Elimination of Sugars)
- Limiting of Snacks Between Large Meals
- Reducing the length of snacking time
- Regular Dental Visits (Semi-Annual)
- Replacement of Toothbrush (3-4 Months)
Brushing your teeth twice a day will guarantee appropriate results and make it easier to prevent tooth decay or related dental issues.
Brushing Teeth in the Morning Is Important
Brushing your teeth twice is good; one of those times should come in the morning. Brushing in the morning is the best opportunity to eliminate built-up residue (plaque), tartar, and trapped food particles.
Brushing your teeth in the morning prevents “morning breath” and additional accumulation of bacteria. The bacteria gather on your teeth overnight as saliva production slows down to a crawl. Once this happens, the bacteria will spread and multiply to eat away at your enamel. If you don’t brush your teeth, the buildup will continue.
Brush At A 45-Degree Angle
Brushing your teeth is terrific, but what about the techniques we should use? Are you brushing your teeth properly?
In most cases, you’re not, and that’s a significant issue.
Proper brushing requires a 45-degree angle, stroking in the direction your teeth grow instead of going straight across. Take the time to brush methodically (two minutes). If not, you’re most likely going to miss the hard-to-reach areas of your mouth. Each stroke should be careful, precise, and gentle. Please take the time to get close to your gumline as bacteria may settle in and lead to gingivitis/periodontitis.
Here is more on what the perfect brushing routine encompasses.
It’s in your favor to learn this and make it a part of your daily routine for optimal results. If not, plaque buildup, tartar, and bacteria will become a problem for your oral health.
Steps For Perfect Brushing Routine:
- Use Soft-Bristled Brush
- Clean Outer Surfaces of Teeth (Upper and Lower)
- Clean Inner Surfaces of Teeth (Upper and Lower)
- Brush Your Tongue
- Clean Chewing Surfaces (Upper and Lower)
The ideal brushing routine stems from the implementation of these tips. Use this advice to reshape or tweak yo
regimen for increased results.
Habit Number Three – Chewing Ice Cubes
As strong as human teeth are and as hard as tooth enamel is, we should not use our teeth to crunch and grind ice cubes (in any quantity or texture). The problem isn’t merely that ice is hard but that it’s so cold. When our teeth experience extreme temperature changes, the enamel expands and contracts, causing tiny cracks and weakening the overall structure — like what happens to the pavement in places where it snows.
Weakened enamel can lead to other problems like tooth sensitivity and greater vulnerability to decay, and ice isn’t good for gum tissue either. It’s so cold that it can have a numbing effect while eating it, which might mean you don’t notice an injury to the gum tissue. Ice can even chip or break teeth as well.
Always consult your dentist for any changes in your dental health. You are welcome to visit with Dr. Ryan Kidman at Creekside Dental