Tooth Decay Prevention: Bad Dental Habits to Avoid

We all have bad habits but when they affect your health, it can be quite painful and expensive. In order to have a sparkling smile and avoid tooth fractures, decay and other serious problems, you need to take care of your oral health. Prevention is an important part of good health so here is a list of common bad dental habits you should avoid.

Smoking and tobacco products
cognac-and-pipe-with-tobaccoEven though smoking prevalence rates are declining, around 15% of adult Australians still smoke. Using tobacco can have serious consequences for your health seeing as how it not only results in bad breath and discoloration of your teeth, but it can cause far worse problems. This includes gum disease which can lead to tooth loss. Smoking increases your chances of having oral and lung cancer as well.

Talk to your doctor to see which strategies you can use in order to stop smoking. There are many options, such as patches, medication and even hypnosis, so choose what suits you best.

Too much soda and sports drinks
refreshment-after-trainingjpgYes, carbonated drinks may be refreshing during hot summer days but they are also quite harmful. They are high in sugar and the bacteria in your mouth thrive on it. This leads to plaque forming much quicker and even turning into tartar which is difficult to remove. All of this can lead to tooth and gum decay. Diabetes and obesity are also side effects of drinking soda.

The best alternative to sugary drinks is water; however, if you just can’t live without soda, use a straw in order to minimize contact with your teeth. Rinse your mouth with water but wait at least 30 minutes to brush your teeth as the acid in the drinks makes the enamel softer and it can easily be damaged.

Fruit juice
apricot-juice-and-fresh-fruits-with-leavesYou might be surprised to hear that sugar levels in some fruit juices are equivalent to those in soda. Orange juice, lemonade and other citrus juices are very acidic which contributes to tooth enamel erosion.

Squeezing a bit of lemon or lime into plain water can be a great substitute as well as eating whole fruits that are full of minerals, vitamins and fiber that is good for your health.

Too much coffee
woman-enjoying-coffee-on-the-weekendYou might need coffee in order to start your day but you should be aware of the effects that caffeine has on your oral health. It can cause dry mouth and decay in addition to staining the teeth and inhibiting the flow of saliva. Adding sugar and drinking multiple cups a day can increase the risk of cavities even more.

There are ways to have coffee without affecting your health such as decaf varieties and sugar-free sweeteners. Sugar-free gum is also a great way to stimulate saliva flow.

Red and white wine
red-white-and-rose-bottles-of-wineMost people enjoy a glass of wine to end a busy day. You should know, however, that the three main components of wine (chromogens, acids and tannins) can help stains to form on your teeth due to the cracks in the enamel. White wine is even worse as it strips even more calcium from your teeth compared to the red.

There are ways you can prevent the stains from forming. Avoiding foods with a lot of pigment, such as beets, and eating protein-rich food like cheese can help. Rinse your mouth after drinking wine. If the discoloration is already showing, you can always get professional whitening services. In case you live in NSW, you can easily find a gentle and friendly dentist in Wollongong. They cannot only help with the discoloration of your teeth but offer other useful advice as well.

Candy and sugary food
sweet-sugary-easter-candyNo sugary food is good for your teeth but chewy, sticky types of candy are the biggest threat to your oral health. Caramel, jelly beans and gummy candy tend to stick to your teeth and go into the crevices where they stay until they dissolve. Seeing as how bacteria love this sugary environment, the risk of damaged enamel and cavities is higher.

There are sugar-free options for you to turn to if you must have candy. Even better, stop eating junk food and opt for healthy snacks such as fruits and veggies. They can satisfy your need for sugar and provide you with antioxidants, minerals, vitamins and fibers that you need.

Not using a mouth guard
doctors-hands-holding-silicone-mouth-guardIn case you practice any sports, make sure you wear a mouth guard. All sports can result in a dental injury, especially contact and combat sports. Mouth guards can reduce the risk of injuries such as fractured or knocked out teeth as well as temporomandibular joint dysfunction. They help cushion your jaws and teeth. Mouth guards can be custom made in order to make it easy for you to speak and breathe while playing.

Biting your nails
biting-fingernailsBiting your fingernails on a regular basis can potentially cause tooth damage. It can also expose your mouth to the bacteria which lives under your nails. This can increase the risk of infection and sickness.

You can kick this habit by always keeping your nails short or coating them with a special nail polish that has a terrible flavor.

Improper brushing

family-are-brushing-teethMany dental problems arise due to improper brushing techniques. You should brush at least twice a day for at least three minutes. Anything less than two minutes does not let the fluoride in the toothpaste attach to the enamel. You should not forget to floss and clean your tongue as well.
Additionally, make sure not to brush and floss too hard and too often as that can damage the enamel and increase the risk of gum disease. Your toothbrush should not last more than three months as an old toothbrush can be ineffective in cleaning your teeth. Getting a soft bristled brush is a great way to avoid hurting your teeth and gums.

These are just some of the bad habits when it comes to dental health. Moreover, avoid things such as grinding your teeth, chewing on pencils and ice as well as opening things with your teeth. Follow these tips and visit your dentist regularly and you will have no problems with your oral health.