Going to the dentist is a must for anyone who wants to keep his or her teeth clean, but relying on the dentist alone is not enough! We all know the ways to take care of our teeth, like brushing and flossing–but do you know which habits you need to kick to keep those pearly whites healthy?
Here are the top 10 teeth terrorizing habits you need to quit right now:
- Not flossing: It’s common to overlook flossing and think that it isn’t a big deal, but it is! Flossing captures the bacteria caught between your teeth that a toothbrush can’t reach. When you don’t floss, your chances of getting cavities in those hard-to-reach spots skyrocket. Don’t be discouraged if your gums bleed when you floss; they will strengthen and bleed less over time.
- Brushing right after eating: So many of the foods we eat are acidic, like tomatoes, pickles, and lemons. You don’t need to avoid these foods completely, but you must wait to brush your teeth! Since these foods contain acid that can sit on your teeth, when you brush, you are rubbing acid into your enamel and damaging it further. Be sure to rinse your mouth with water and wait 30 minutes before you brush.
- Not replacing your toothbrush: Toothbrushes can harbor a lot of nasty bacteria if they are not replaced frequently enough. Make sure to change your toothbrush every 3-4 months, and definitely change it if you catch a cold!
- Using a hard-bristle brush: If you use a brush with hard bristles, you may be inclined to scrub too vigorously and damage your gums. This can cause them to recede! Use a soft bristle toothbrush instead, and brush at a 45-degree angle towards your gums in small circles. This keeps gums healthy and teeth happy.
- Clenching your jaw or gritting your teeth: Stress happens, but be cautious of how hard you are clenching. This kind of friction and pressure on your teeth can cause painful microfractures.
- Chewing ice: The hardness and the temperature of the ice can damage your teeth. Your blender needs special tools to cut up ice, so don’t make the mistake of thinking your teeth can handle that much chomping!
- Using your teeth as a tool: The new tag on your sweater should be cut off with scissors, not with your teeth. Many people use their teeth to unscrew tight bottles or open bags, but this can cause your teeth to crack.
- Chewing things that are not food: Pens, glasses, fingernails–you wouldn’t eat any of these, so why do you chew on them? It can be hard to know how much pressure you are really putting on these objects when you put them between your teeth since they don’t break down the way food does. This can also cause cracks in your teeth.
- Excessive bleaching: It is not harmful to whiten your teeth once in awhile, but this can dramatically increase sensitivity to the point where it may be painful to eat. Make sure this doesn’t happen by consulting a dentist before using any bleaching agents.
- Drinking soda: Not only is soda filled with sugar, but it’s like giving your teeth a mini bath of acid. This corrodes your enamel and can cause decay around gums when consumed regularly.
Your teeth are important to you, and they are important to us! At Oaktown Dental, we would love to help you develop healthier habits for your teeth. Call today for an appointment!
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Dr. Zahid Ahmed combines current advances in dentistry with holistic health to bring patients the best possible dental care. His goal is to provide patients with personalized service, creating lasting relationships based on trust and expertise.
Dr. Ahmed received his DDS from the University of Michigan School of Dentistry. He has worked as an Assistant Clinical Professor at UCSF and maintains a position as Clinical Instructor at Stanford University. He is recognized as a Fellow in both the Academy of General Dentistry (FAGD) and the International Congress of Oral Implantologists (FICOI). He believes continuous learning in dentistry allows him to stay current, and provide the best possible dental care for his patients.
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Zahid H. Ahmed, DDS, FICOI, FAGD
Monica Louie, DMD
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