You feel like you do a pretty good job of looking out for your teeth; you brush twice a day, you floss between every tooth and you visit the dentist twice a year. That’s everything you need to do to protect your smile, right? The truth is that depending on your lifestyle, it may actually not be enough! There are plenty of behaviors and everyday activities that can seriously harm oral health; here are just 4 examples of things to watch out for to protect your smile.
1. Chewing Ice
Crunching on an ice cube might seem like a good way to cool off during the summer, but it’s not a good habit to fall into. Because ice is so hard, biting into it can damage the enamel of your teeth. Eventually it could badly chip or crack the tooth, potentially creating a dental emergency. If you must eat ice, let it melt in your mouth slowly instead of chewing it.
2. Playing Sports
Football and other high-contact sports can be exhilarating, but they also carry more than a few risks. A study in the Journal of the American Dental Association found that 13-39% of dental injuries (such as broken or knocked-out teeth) occur during sports. For this reason, if you participate in physical activities where there’s a good chance you might get hit in the mouth, you should always wear a mouthguard.
3. Drinking Soda
There’s a very good reason why your dentist will always recommend cutting down on soft drinks. Most sodas contain a lot of sugar that, when consumed by the bacteria in your mouth and secreted as acid, leads to tooth decay. “Diet” sodas that don’t contain any sugar aren’t much better because the drink itself is highly acidic and can wear down the enamel. These drinks are especially harmful for kids and teens whose teeth aren’t fully developed yet.
It’s okay to enjoy a soft drink occasionally, but only in moderation (no more than 12 ounces a day). You can use a straw to keep a lot of the sugar and the acids away from your pearly whites.
4. Eating Sugary and Starchy Snacks
You probably don’t need to be told that candy, cookies and other sugary treats can put you at risk for cavities, but they’re not the only threat you need to watch out for! Chips, bread, pasta, crackers and other foods are made from white flower, meaning they contain starches. These starches linger in the mouth and eventually break down into simple sugars for bacteria to feed on. You can indulge in these foods once in a while, but don’t forget to rinse with water and brush afterwards.
You should discuss your everyday habits with your dentist in Sarasota; they can help you identify areas that need improvement and suggest new behaviors you can replace them with. Always remember: the best way to deal with an oral health problem is to make sure you never develop one!
About the Author
Dr. Ben Tindal enjoys using his mind and his hands to help people by improving their smiles. He gives every patient the personalized attention they deserve and develop treatment plans for their unique needs (such as fillings or crowns to repair cavities). To schedule an appointment at his practice, Tindal Prosthodontics, visit his website or call (941) 225-2520.