5 Things You May Be Doing That Are Actually Hurting Your Teeth
Your teeth are surprisingly strong and for good reason. They’re there to help you bite and chew both soft and tough foods of all kinds. However, your teeth aren’t indestructible, and there are some things we do in our everyday lives that can actually do harm to our pearly-whites.
That said, to help you keep your teeth happy and healthy, here are five common habits that may be hurting your teeth and what to do instead.
Brushing Your Teeth Too Hard
Up to 32% of people say they’re concerned by the look of their teeth. While your first instinct when brushing may be to scrub plaque away, it’s really important that you don’t brush too hard. You don’t need to scrub or scrape at your teeth to get rid of plaque. In fact, all you need to do is gently brush in small circles for about two minutes. Close your mouth slightly to access more space around your back teeth.
The reason why you don’t want to brush too hard is that over-brushing can actually remove your teeth’s protective layer: your enamel. Once your enamel wears away, it doesn’t come back. This increases your chance of developing cavities, gum disease, and other dental issues. If you’re concerned about your enamel, talk to your family dentist about your options.
Flossing the Wrong Way
Despite what many people believe, flossing isn’t meant to make your gums bleed. It’s a way to remove plaque from between your teeth where your toothbrush can’t reach. It only takes between 24 to 72 hours for plaque to turn into tartar, which can only be removed by a general dentist. Trying to remove tartar on your own can be dangerous and can do a lot of harm to your teeth.
When you forget to floss, you’re leaving the sides of your teeth open to potential cavities. However, it isn’t enough to floss. You also need to floss correctly. Remember that when you floss, you’re removing plaque from the sides of your teeth. Don’t push the floss down and up and move onto the next space between your teeth. Instead, curve the floss around the side of the tooth in a C shape and gently move the floss up and down the side of the tooth. Repeat on the side of the other tooth.
Opening Packages With Your Teeth
When the scissors are too far away, it can be tempting to open a package using your teeth, instead. But this isn’t the best idea. Unlike food, packages are made out of tougher materials that aren’t meant to be consumed such as plastic, paperboard, and butcher paper. Opening a package with your teeth can wear away your enamel, chip a tooth, or crack a tooth. Chipped teeth can be repaired using dental bonding, a type of cosmetic dentistry, but it goes to show that it’s better to use the scissors to open packaged items.
Drinking Acidic Beverages
The two most commonly known beverages that can cause harm to your teeth include sports drinks and soda because of their high sugar content. However, there are two types of beverages that can actually do even more harm to your teeth than you think: energy drinks and sparkling water. Energy drinks are highly acidic and wear away at your teeth’s enamel, putting you at greater risk for cavities. While sparkling water isn’t acidic in itself, it increases your mouth’s natural acidity and, like energy drinks, can wear away at your enamel. To protect your teeth, avoid sugary and acidic beverages and try to stick to water, instead.
Skipping Regular Cleanings
A general dentist plays an important role in your dental health, which is why it’s recommended to visit the dentist at least once every six months. As we mentioned earlier, it only takes between 24 to 72 hours for plaque to harden into tartar. During your regular cleaning with your general dentist, your dentist removes tartar build-up and plaque to reduce your risk of cavities. If you do have a cavity, your general dentist can schedule you for fillings to treat the cavity before it worsens. A very bad cavity can sometimes need a root canal or a crown to protect the tooth from further decay.
Railroad Dental Associates offers regular cleanings, fillings, sedation dentistry, Invisalign, and more. If you’re looking to visit the dentist to take better care of your teeth, we’ve got you covered. Contact us today to schedule a cleaning or a consultation.