There are so many healthy habits we can engage in to help promote our good oral health – habits like brushing and flossing every day, eating a healthy diet, and visiting your dentist on a regular basis for oral exams and professional cleanings. While it’s always a good idea to keep these healthy habits in mind, it’s also important to remember what NOT to do. The unfortunate fact is that there are many habits that can damage your teeth and gums, so think twice before you engage in any of these.
- Watch what you drink. Although it’s important to stay hydrated, some drinks can wreak havoc with your teeth and gums. Sugary sodas come in at the top of that list. In fact, even sugar-free sodas are bad for your oral health. The acidity of sodas damages your teeth. If there’s sugar involved, that’s even worse. Alcohol has the same problem – the acidity erodes the enamel of your teeth. Alcohol also decreases saliva production, which means you’ll be less likely to wash away any remaining food particles or bacteria inside your mouth.
- Stay away from sugar. No surprise here. Eating sugary foods and drinking sugary beverages is one of the worst things you can do for your teeth. And the more time your teeth are exposed to sugar, the worse it becomes. That means that foods that are likely to remain for a long time inside your mouth (like hard candies, for example) and others that are likely to stick to the surface of your teeth (such as caramel candy) are the worst of the worst. Limit your intake of foods and beverages containing sugar. If you have a sweet tooth, fruit is a great option; apples in particular.
- Don’t smoke. It’s just as simple as that. Smoking is a nasty habit that causes your teeth to turn yellow and can eventually lead to oral cancer. Chewing tobacco is much worse than smoking because the tobacco stays in direct contact with your teeth and gums for long periods of time. If you chew tobacco or smoke, your teeth and gums will suffer the consequences.
- Watch out for medications that can cause a dry mouth. Several different types can fall into this category, including both over-the-counter and prescription medication. Reduced saliva production can make you more prone to tooth decay.
- Don’t grind your teeth. This may sound like simple advice, but it’s a habit that’s difficult to break on your own. Teeth grinding can wear down your teeth and also lead to pain in your jaw and other issues. If you grind your teeth while you sleep, talk to your dentist about methods that can help with this problem. Mouth guards, for example, can alleviate the symptoms of bruxism (teeth grinding).
- Your teeth are not tools. There are many instruments designed for opening bottles or removing clothing tags, but your teeth don’t fall into that category.
Maintain your healthy teeth and gums by engaging in healthy habits every single day. When it comes to good oral health, remembering what NOT to do is important!