Human teeth can last a lifetime, up to 100 years by some studies…if properly cared for. But there are some bad habits that can cause damage to your teeth. Studies show that people with healthy teeth will actually reduce their risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and have lower blood pressure, if they follow their dentist’s instructions.
The Top 5 Bad Habits
Ice cubes, pencils, cigarettes, breath mints, and sweet drinks.
Although it may sound like a list of items found in a woman’s purse, the list above actually represents the products that lead to damaged teeth. Our teeth are the only teeth we have. We cannot grow a new set. So it is important to know how to protect your teeth from bad habits that lead to tooth damage.
Here are 5 habits that cause damage to teeth:
- Breath mints
Although mints leave our breath smelling fresh, sucking on breath mints all day is like soaking your teeth in sugar. The healthier option is to select a sugar-free mint, possibly mints sweetened with xylitol, which also appears to combat bacteria associated with tooth decay.
- Sugary Beverages
Sodas can have up to 11 teaspoons of sugar per serving, and also contain phosphoric and citric acids, which eat away at tooth enamel. Like soda, sugary sports drinks create an acid attack on the enamel of your teeth. Drinking them frequently can lead to decay. Fruit juice is loaded with vitamins and antioxidants, but unfortunately, most juices are also loaded with sugar. For example, there are only 10 more grams of sugar in orange soda than in orange juice. Reduce the sugar content by diluting juice with water, avoid other sugary beverages and encourage your children to do the same.
- Cigarettes and other tobacco products
Smoking and using tobacco not only causes a host of health problems, but it also damages teeth and leads to tooth loss. Cigarette, pipe and cigar smokers all have an elevated risk of both tooth and bone loss. They also don’t recover as easily from various dental procedures, such as implants and extraction. There is also a higher incidence of a painful condition called dry socket among smokers who have had teeth removed. And, puffing on an electronic cigarette also has its dental pitfalls. The act of inhaling nicotine inhibits your mouth’s ability to make saliva, leaving you susceptible to bacteria build up, dry mouth, and tooth decay.
- Chewing on pencils
When concentrating on a task or problem, some people start chewing or biting things like pencils, pens, even eyeglasses. This habit puts extra pressure on your teeth, and can actually cause your teeth to shift or even crack. Chewing on non-food objects can also break existing dental work that you have in your mouth.
- Crunching on ice
Dental experts say that chewing on ice can easily damage teeth. First, the hard, frozen cubes can chip or even crack your teeth. Chewing on ice also irritates the tooth’s soft tissue, which can lead to toothaches and an acute sensitivity to hot and/or cold foods and beverages.
Keep Your Teeth
You rely on your teeth for eating, smiling and good overall health. Keep your teeth – and your children’s teeth – healthy and firmly in place by avoiding these bad habits. If you believe your teeth have suffered damage, schedule an appointment with Hall and Butterfield Family Dentistry to find out what you can do to ensure your dental health, now and in the future.