Torbram Dental weighs in on the ten worst behaviours for your teeth. (Source: Dentistry & You, powered by Dear Doctor Magazine, November 5, 2016, https://www.deardoctor.com/dentistry/blog/10-worst-behaviors-for-teeth ).
A beautiful smile is one of the first things we observe about the people we meet. However, having a great smile requires having healthy teeth. Brushing twice a day, flossing regularly, using rinses, and visiting your dentist every few months are excellent habits that encourage optimal oral health. However, despite all these good habits, Torbram Dental thinks there are a few things you should know that can unknowingly harm your teeth. Read along to know what some of them are.
Not using the right toothbrush: A toothbrush with very hard or soft bristles might not help you get the proper cleaning needed to maintain good oral health. Torbram Dental says, “It is important to talk to your dentist to know the best toothbrush for you. Very hard bristled brushes can cause abrasion of the enamel layer, leading to hypersensitivity and gum recession.”
When you brush too hard or too much: Many people believe brushing hard can remove tooth stains, which is not true. Torbram Dental states, “Brushing your teeth too hard or for a long period or two frequently (more than 2-3 times a day) can cause hypersensitivity and can also lead to dental root exposure or fracture.”
Nail biting: Torbram Dental explains, “Nail biting is a common side effect of anxiety or nervousness. But this harmful habit can lead to minor surface fractures of teeth. An abundant amount of bacteria and germs also collect under the nail. This bacteria can creep into your mouth and cause issues.”
Grinding and clenching: Grinding off your teeth in anger or frustration can cause severe attrition of your teeth surfaces. Torbram Dental explains, “Night-time grinding or clenching of the jaw involuntarily during sleep is called bruxism. The exact cause of bruxism is unknown. Still, it is thought to be associated with feelings of post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, nervousness, and fear. The treatment for bruxism involves wearing acrylic plates over the teeth made in the shape of your dentition. These are known as dental night guards.”
Chewing on ice cubes: The tendency to chew on materials that are not typical, like ice cubes, chalk, or mud, is found to be associated with iron deficiency anemia. Torbram Dental tells us, “This disorder is known as Pica. Some people might do this for fun, but it is important to understand that your teeth are not designed for chewing on such hard substances. The structure of your teeth will not withstand the downward pressure of the force required to break the ice or other hard substances for a long time. This harmful habit can cause microfractures on your teeth or even major enamel damage, which might require extensive restoration or removal treatment.”
Using teeth as tools: Torbram Dental emphasises that “Your teeth are for chewing food, not hard things like metal, ice, or stone. They will not withstand the vertical stresses of breaking up or opening hard substances like opening soda bottle caps, bending metal with your teeth for opening canisters, or tearing tags from clothes. They may chip off or leave you in severe pain in case of vertical fractures.”
Dry mouth or dehydration: About saliva, Torbram Dental explains, “Your saliva is full of minerals which strengthen your dental enamel. It contains factors that help your blood clot after an oral injury. Saliva also maintains the oral pH by neutralizing the acids in the mouth. A dry mouth reduces this action of saliva. It can ultimately cause an increase in dental caries, infections, and bad odour from your mouth.”
Sugary foods/ drinks and high carbs: Drinks and foods with high sugar content are breeding grounds for cavity-causing bacteria. Torbram Dental says, “The bacterial colonies which cause dental caries ferment the sugars present in these foods and increase the acidic pH in the mouth. These excess acids then easily start breaking down the crystalline structure of the dental enamel of your teeth. This causes decay and cavity formation on your teeth.”
Excess tea/ coffee or soda consumption: You may wonder about the stains on your teeth despite cleaning your teeth well. Torbram Dental informs, “Extrinsic stains on tooth surfaces are widespread among people who consume a lot of tea, coffee, and other soda drinks containing food colouring. Continuous consumption of these drinks causes the food pigment to accumulate on the uneven surfaces of the tooth. This leaves a brown stain on teeth, a susceptible ground for tartar accumulation and cavity formation.”
Indulging in contact sports without wearing any proper mouthguards: Mouthguards are essential when we are playing contact sports like football, wrestling, boxing, karate, taekwondo, etc. Torbram Dental says, “Mouth guards should be worn wherever there is a chance of any high-velocity object hitting your face or when the sport involves facial hits. Wearing appropriate mouthguards can prevent many unpleasant accidents like broken/ loosened teeth, lip cuts, bruises, and other dental or oral damage.”
Torbram Dental adds, “If you have a dental habit that you find difficult to break, ask for help! Your dentist will offer their best advice and guide you accordingly.”