In this article, you’ll discover some of the things that can ruin your teeth.
Hence, it’s important to treat your teeth with care -- after all, what affects the teeth also affects the body.
According to the FDI World Dental Federation, “oral health goes beyond healthy teeth and a warm smile. The mouth is a mirror of the body, often reflecting the state of the body.”
A clean mouth and healthy teeth are essential for our well-being. Research indicates that strong and properly functioning teeth prevent gum disease, and help fight heart disease.
Consequently, poor oral care is the reason for the accumulation of bacteria within the gum line.
Additionally, neglecting to brush and floss regularly can lead to more serious health conditions such as periodontitis, trench mouth, and gingivitis.
It’s important to take care of your teeth because, eventually, the effects of poor oral care will become obvious. In extreme cases, it can lead to loss of teeth and cardiovascular disease.
But before you can effectively care for your teeth, you need to know what could ruin it. Here are 8 of the common and surprising things to avoid:
- Reduce Intake of Beverages
“Consuming beverages is equivalent to bathing teeth in an acid solution,” says Robert Sorin, clinical instructor.
Soda, for example, is not recommended for the teeth, sugar-free or not. Club soda is equally harmful to the teeth because it contains acidity. Juices from added sugar are also bad for the teeth.
Alcoholic wines are also harmful to the teeth, even if it’s just a glass of wine. It contains acidic substances that can erode the teeth. Alcohol also dries out the mouth, which leads to lower saliva production.
According to Sorin, “Saliva bathes the teeth and is responsible for removing plaque and the accumulation of bacteria from the teeth’s surface.”
You can prevent tooth decay, which is mostly caused by bacterial acids. To remove plaque from teeth, endeavor to rinse your mouth with clean water between drinks.
- Chewing on Ice
Ice crunching may sound awesome to some people, but is it good for healthy teeth?
The little melted chips of ice cubes may delight you, especially when it’s lurked at the bottom of your glass while you’re enjoying your favorite beverage. It can be hard to resist.
But here’s the truth: Chewing on ice is bad for your teeth. It can ruin your nice dentition -- and cause several pains in your gum lines.
Ice cube is natural and sugar-free, so it’s quite easy to think it’s harmless.
But studies have shown that munching on frozen cubes can crack your nice teeth. It may even cause regular headaches if the soft tissue inside a tooth is affected.
Additionally, cold foods and hot foods should be avoided, because they can cause sharp pains the next time you feel the urge to chew on ice. If you must chew something, then let it be sugarless gum.
- Teeth grinding
Bruxism, also known as teeth grinding is a common habit exhibited by most people. At the surface, it seems harmless but it can cause severe pain in the mouth region, affect the jaw, and alter a person’s facial appearance. Yes, it’s that serious.
According to the California Dental Association (CDA), Bruxism could lead to painful or loose teeth, leaving worn surfaces or fractured enamel.”
Teeth grinding is majorly caused by stress. It could happen when a person is sleeping, reading, or while alone with no one to talk with.
Take charge of your teeth and avoid stress, so that you can prevent bruxism.
Finding ways to solve this issue can be helpful, but you might want to consult your dentist, who can recommend the ideal solution based on the severity of your teeth grinding.
Some dentists recommend a custom night guard, which could provide a temporary answer while you’re seeking a more reliable solution.
- Tongue and Lip Piercings
Tongue piercing has become a cultural norm for some people. This practice may be trendy and modern, but it can ruin your teeth. When a person bites down on the metal stud, it can crack a tooth.
Lip piercing is equally risky. Since it involves metal rubbing against the gums, it can lead to gum damage and consequent tooth loss.
A study conducted by the Canadian Dental Association (CDA) indicates that these piercings can cause ‘chronic injury, adjacent teeth, as well as mucosa (inside of cheeks, lips, taste buds). In turn, this can cause severe tooth fracture and gum recession.
Piercing the mouth region is a clear invitation to bacteria, which increases the risk of sores and infections.
The danger of tongue piercing is the fact that you can accidentally pierce a large blood vessel, which obviously can cause bleeding. You should consult your dentist before undergoing any form of piercing in your tongue, lips, etc.
- Temperature Rollercoaster
Why do some people get hooked up in a temperature rollercoaster? Have you found yourself pairing pizza and a cold drink? It could be a soda or beer. It may seem like a great experience but your tooth is in great danger. Why?
Because the hot temperature can expand your tooth enamel -- while the cold temperature contracts it.
According to Leslie Renee Townsend, DDS, regional dental director at the Jefferson Dental Clinics, “Even though there are no medical studies that prove eating hot and then cold foods can damage your teeth, you’ll observe exaggerated sensitivity with this unhealthy combo.”
This sensitivity affects about 45 million people in the United States alone, which is a clear indication that pairing both cold and hot foods/drinks can ruin your teeth.
Also, when you feel a shooting pain while eating or drinking, it could be a clear sign of a cracked tooth or advanced decay -- never ignore symptoms like this.
The ideal situation is to eat your pizza with a knife and fork, and make sure you blow on it first to tone down the temperature before getting it into your mouth.
- Biting Your Nails
Nail-biting may not ruin your teeth, but it can open doors for bacteria to breed. Nail-biting is one type of nervous habit which some people get caught up with when they’re stressed or anxious.
“Quit biting your nails!”
There are so many germs under your fingernails. And it doesn’t matter how many times you wash your hands, it’s difficult to successfully remove all the dirt and germs from hidden under your nails.
You can’t begin to imagine just how many risks you’re exposing your body to whenever you bite your nails.
Opening your mouth and biting your nails gives the germs under your fingernails access to your body -- this can lead to serious illness. Always wash your hands thoroughly and avoid biting your nails.
Come to think of it, our fingers come into close contact with so much dirt during the day.
In a 24-hour period, we accumulate millions of bacteria under our nails. Aside from increasing the chance of getting sick, it’s quite easy to damage the teeth when you bite a hard fingernail.
- Aiming for the whitest smile
There’s nothing wrong with keeping the teeth healthy and white, but when you use every product out there, then it’s time to rethink your approach.
For example, using over-the-counter kits to bleach and whiten teeth may not be advisable for healthy teeth. “It can affect the enamel negatively and prompt permanent tooth sensitivity,” says Katz.
Always use teeth whitening products from reputable brands and as prescribed by your dentist. Try the product mildly first, then if you don’t notice any sensitivity, follow the instructions, and start using it.
Ideally, stick to natural whiteners such as cauliflower, strawberries, and the like.
Avoid bleaching products that come with chemical additives -- These additives could dry out your mouth, reduce saliva production, and damage your gum lines.
- Brushing right after a meal
You may have been taught to brush your teeth after every meal. This is a common theory out there, but it turns out that our teachers don’t know it all.
According to dental reports, the human teeth are weakest immediately after eating -- especially if the food is acidic.
So when should you brush after eating?
There’s no fast rule to it. But since it takes 30 - 45 minutes for the saliva (a catalyst) to remineralize the tooth enamel after eating and harden it again, wait for an hour or two before brushing your teeth.
There you have it, the 8 common and surprising things that can ruin your teeth. Proper oral care makes it easy for you to eat well, enjoy good food, and stay healthy.
As you age, the only reliable solution to strong and well-functioning teeth is proper oral hygiene.
Little things matter when it comes to the health of your teeth. For example, proper brushing your teeth and flossing are two important steps to guard against tooth decay and damage.
And remember to stay close to your dentist if you notice any symptoms of receding gums. The dentist can advise you properly. Keep your teeth strong and healthy.
Healthy teeth. Healthy life!