5 Things Wrecking Your Teeth
5 Things you probably don’t know are wreaking havoc on your teeth
1.) It’s Not Just Sugar
When it comes to cavities there’s another villain you might not know about. Foods with a low–pH are just as capable of weakening tooth enamel. Fruit juice, diet soda, sour candies work against teeth by softening the enamel. Over time this allows the strong, protective outer layer (enamel) of the tooth to diminish. Teeth actually get smaller and enamel becomes thin and porous. Besides becoming more susceptible to decay teeth also are more likely to be sensitive to hot and cold.
The solution. Cut acidic drinks, especially diet soda, out of your daily routine. Limit things like fruit juice and sour candies, even vitamin chews. The worst offenders are the ultra sour, ultra sticky candies: steering clear of those is a good idea.
If you do eat or drink something really acidic you might be tempted to brush your teeth right away. Resist this urge and go for some water. Diluting the residual acids by rinsing actually helps save enamel. Brushing while the enamel is still soft will result in more enamel loss versus rinsing and waiting to brush. After about an hour enamel should be hard enough that brushing is safe.
2.) You’re Not A Beaver
Beaver’s teeth never stop growing, they must actively chew on hard things to keep their teeth worn down. People sometimes chew on all kinds of hard things that wear, crack and even break their teeth. Unlike beavers, when we break a tooth it doesn’t grow back.
Hard foods like popcorn kernels and ice-cubes are two of the most common culprits but people put all kinds of things in their mouth that aren’t food. opening small pill vials or medicine bottles, prying things open or apart, chewing nails, even oral piercings all take a toll on enamel. Weather enamel becomes worn down, or the tooth actually cracks or even breaks, using your chompers on really hard things, (food or not) is one of the worst things you can do to them.
3.) Too Much Fluoride.
Fluoride has long been touted the best anti-cavity preventative around. For more than fifty years the dental establishment has been promoting fluorination, especially for children. There is such a thing as too much of a good thing.
Excess fluoride, in children who still have adult teeth erupting, can actually cause a process known as fluorosis. Teeth can become speckled with white spots that eventually turn brown or yellowish flecks that go throughout the enamel. Fluorosis also can cause teeth and sometimes bones to become excessively porous and weak.
To ensure you and your children are not ingesting too much fluoride, monitor tooth brushing. Make sure that toothpaste is not swallowed. Use only a pea-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste per brushing to help reduce the amount potentially swallowed. Young children may need to use fluoride free toothpaste until they get good at spitting in the sink while brushing.
4.)Cosmetic Dentistry: Even Braces
We all want perfect smiles. Not just that but in the long run, straight teeth are much easier to keep clean. That being said there are risks we take weather we are getting traditional braces or opting for a bridge -vs- an implant. Here is what you need to know:
Your tongue is a natural toothbrush, when braces are in place you are no longer able to sweep the teeth and keep foods, and bacteria from sticking to teeth. If you have traditional fixed braces, pay special attention to where the brackets attach to teeth and never skip brushing and flossing. Invisalign Braces can be removed periodically to flush and rinse making sure the teeth get a healthy coating of saliva periodically and the whole tooth can be brushed and flossed much more easily. Ask about our six months to straight teeth, program. Shortening the time that teeth have an apparatus on them can help reduce the chances of cavities.
When deciding on restoration options always consult with your dentist about the potential negative effects to surrounding teeth. Discuss all your options and the pros and cons so that you have a really clear picture of the long term.
5.) Pulling An All-nighter…Again.
Routinely skipping out on sleep is one of the toughest things you can put your teeth and gums through. Turns out we do actually need beauty sleep. Studies show that a steady 7 to 8 hours of sleep can help your mouth stay in tip-top shape. While sleeping less than 7 hours per night increased the risk of periodontal disease by over 40%.
Set routines up to get to bed on time and be able to fall asleep. Cut back on sugars, caffeine and alcohol, all things that have been shown to interfere with good sleep. Get regular exercise early in the day and turn off the T.V. Try meditation for ten or fifteen minutes before sleep.
Lastly, taking measures to treat medical conditions that prevent sleep, like sleep apnea. Working with your physician and a dentist trained and experienced to treat conditions like sleep apnea will ensure you and your smile get the best–most restorative–sleep possible.
These things combined with regular dental checkup, daily brushing and flossing and a healthy diet will help your teeth be their sparkly best and stay strong and healthy for years to come.