As your age increases, so do your chances of developing tooth decay and gum disease. (The Centers for Disease Control says that about seventy percent of Americans over the age
of 65 have some form of gingivitis or periodontitis!)
But that doesn’t mean dental problems are inevitable. Certain factors, like your genes, are out of your control of course. But plenty of behaviors that can influence your long-term dental health are well within your control.
Hopefully you know to brush twice per day and floss daily. You know to visit us every six months for a cleaning and exam.
While it’s important to practice positive dental habits, it’s equally important to cut out those behaviors that may be sabotaging your oral health.
If you’re due for a dental checkup in Bordentown, NJ, call Premier Smiles at 609-949-5115.
Don’t Drink Sugary Beverages
Drinks like sodas, sports drinks, and juices are not only high in calories, they contain loads of damaging sugar that feed colonies of bacteria in your mouth. These microbes generate acids that destroy your tooth enamel and lead to cavities. If you have a habit of guzzling these drinks throughout the day, you are doing no favors for your overall or dental health. Diet soda is harmful even without sugar, due to its high acid content.
Get into the routine of drinking plain water instead. Good old H2O keeps the mouth clean between meals by washing away food particles and bacteria. It neutralizes acids, rendering them less effective at destroying your teeth.
Don’t Use Tobacco Products
It’s no secret that smoking (and smokeless tobacco) is bad for your health. It puts you at risk for various cancers, lung problems, and any number of other serious systemic issues. And yes, it’s bad for your mouth as well, leading to:
- Staining of the teeth and gums
- Bad breath
- Higher risk for periodontal disease
- Diminished sense of smell and taste
- Increased likelihood of developing oral cancer
- Slower healing after oral surgery
- High dental implant failure rate
Are you ready to quit this harmful habit? Check out these helpful resources from the CDC.
Don’t Brush Too Hard
As your friendly dentist, we are all about the toothbrushing. But when taking care of your pearly whites, it’s important to use a gentle hand. Brushing vigorously will not do a better job of keeping your teeth clean and free of disease. To the contrary, it will wear down your enamel, leaving your teeth at risk for cavities and sensitivity. It may also damage your gums and lead to painful recession.
So be thorough, but use light pressure only. And always use a soft-bristled toothbrush.
Be honest with yourself. Do you really need to keep that bag of chips in your desk drawer at work? Or that bowl of candy on your coffee table? Mindless snacking throughout the day is damaging for your waistline and your dental health.
Whenever you eat (sugars and other carbohydrates in particular), bacteria proliferate in your mouth and generate acids that work to destroy your tooth enamel. When you keep your food consumption to meals only, bacteria and acids will increase in your mouth after each one, but then subside. When you snack (or drink sugary beverages) all day long, you subject your tooth enamel to constant attack. In fact, a nasty bacterial film may form over your teeth.
Of course, sometimes you do get hungry between meals, and that’s okay. Just be sure to choose a tooth-friendly snack like low-sugar yogurt, cheese, an apple, or some nuts.
Don’t Use Your Teeth on Things That Aren’t Food
Do you ever catch yourself nibbling on your nails when bored or nervous? Do you chew on your pen or pencil when trying to form a thought? Or perhaps you are the type to rip open a package with your mouth, rather than look for a pair of scissors.
Your teeth are strong and super effective when used as they’re meant to be used — that is, to chew food. But they are not designed to be used as tools, or to stand up to tough objects like fingernails.
When you abuse your teeth, you risk ending up at our office with dental emergency. And believe us: you don’t want that to happen.
There is also the issue of microbes. Your mouth is filled with bacteria, objects are covered with them. When you put the two together, you end up transferring harmful bacteria both ways. At best, that’s just gross. At worst, it may lead to illness.