7 daily habits that damage your teeth
Gnawing on a pencil. Drinking a soda during lunch. Munching on cubes of ice. We've all done these things, yet most of the time we don't realize what we're doing to our mouths. These everyday habits wear down our teeth and can lead to oral health problems in kids and adults. Here's a list of the worst routine ways to put a dent in your smile:
Chewing on ice
Some people chew on ice cubes to quench thirst or relieve stress. You might think frozen water wouldn't pose any threats, since it's sugarless and natural, but chomping on the hard substance can actually create tiny fissures in tooth enamel. Gradually, the small cracks widen and cause dental issues later in life. Not only can ice break teeth, but the habit has been known to muck up expensive dental work, such as fillings, braces and crowns. If the mindless pastime hurts the soft issue inside your tooth, you may be more susceptible to regular toothaches. Instead, chew some sugarless gum.
Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, can shave down your teeth. Since most people do it while they're sleeping, they aren't aware it happens. However, a sore jaw or a constant headache could be a key indicator that you're clanking your teeth at night. More often than not, it is brought on by stress and poor sleeping habits. Chronic grinding of teeth can trigger loosening and fracturing. You might want to consider a mouth guard at night to prevent damage from this bad habit.
These high-fructose corn syrup clumps stick onto your teeth long after the moment you eat them. As a result, the sugars and acids wear away at dental enamel, which is why they're famous for causing cavities. Instead of snacking on your Halloween treasures throughout the day, eat them during one meal, when your mouth produces more saliva that helps wash down the gelatin. Steer clear of sour candies especially, since their acidity levels approach that of battery acid. No joke.
Whether you're getting your butt kicked by a test or pondering over last-minute notes before a meeting, you might find yourself chewing down on pens and pencils. Similar to crunching on ice, pencil biting can crack or chip teeth. If you catch yourself or your kid reverting to this dental wrecker, grab a pack of sugar-free gum with xylitol to quench your chewing desire. This healthy alternative will boost saliva production and strengthen teeth.
Contact sports without a mouth guard
Hockey, football, rugby - whichever high-collision sport your kids are into, make sure they wear a mouth guard. This molded plastic protects the upper row of pearly whites during impact, absorbing the blow and saving them from chips or getting knocked out. They're inexpensive and can be found at most sporting good stores. Many are customizable to fit your bite.
Opening things with your mouth
There's no need to crack open a bottle or package with your teeth - this is a surefire way to chip your pearlies and irritate gums. Keep bottle openers and scissors handy to avoid using your chompers as tools. Your smile will thank you for the 10 seconds you spent looking for an opener.
Gulping down soft drinks is one of the biggest causes of tooth decay in the U.S. The acids in these sugary beverages soften tooth enamel and lead to dental caries, or cavities. More than four in five school-age children consume at least one soft drink per day. Yet this isn't just a problem for oral health in kids; many adults pop open a can of soda regularly. To cut back and avoid needing to visit the dentist for cavity treatments, substitute soft beverages for milk or water. Stock your fridge with healthier options and rinse your mouth out with water after consuming pop.