Six SURPRISING Habits That Harm Your Teeth

11281529394_8833ec4e3e_nSometimes we don’t even know that our small habits are actually harming us. Your dental team at the clinic of Tigard, Oregon dentist Gregory A. Williams, DMD has compiled this short list as a little reminder to consider oral health in all areas of your life!

Chewing on ice
Ice is free of sugar, fat, and it usually doesn’t cost anything, either– but it could be a really expensive habit if you cracked or broke a tooth! Ice is harder than it looks, and chewing it is risky for your tooth enamel. If you’re looking for something to chew on, try dentist-recommended gum or a toothpick!

Milk before sleep
Yes, it is comforting for your baby or young child to have a drink of warm milk before drifting off into slumber, but milk is rich in sugar. While your innocent child is blissfully slumbering, bacteria in her mouth are hard at work eating up that sugar and creating acids that could harm her new teeth. Try a drink of water before bed, or if your child has teeth to brush, introduce her to the new grown-up activity of tooth brushing before sleep. After all, it’s what she’ll be doing for the rest of her life!

Gummy candy
And speaking of delicious sugars that bacteria love…there’s candy. But not all candy is made equal; in the world of oral health, gummy candy wins Worst Place for its unique ability to stick in the cracks and crannies of our teeth and remain there, like manna from heaven, to feed bacteria hours after we’ve swallowed the last delicious bite. Avoid candy in general, but avoid gummy candy in particular!

Oral piercings
This isn’t a habit, exactly, but oral piercings are a fashion choice that may have unexpected oral consequences. Your mouth was not designed to carry hardware (orthodontic equipment excluded, of course) and an unwitting tongue wiggle or chomp might result in cracked or damaged tooth enamel. Consider reexamining this fashion accessory, or maybe switch the piercing location to a belly button.

Soft drinks
You already know this. We have included this in this list because soft drinks are terrible for teeth! Don’t drink them! The acid starts breaking down your enamel before you have even swallowed, and sugar teams up with bacteria to do the same thing. Don’t drink soft drinks! Dr. Williams suggests unsweetened tea, water, milk, or even coffee as an alternative to sip on.

Snacking
This may be a little surprising, but your mouth needs a break from the introduction of new foods– time for saliva to wash your mouth and maybe even time to brush or floss. If you are snacking all the time, you’re also providing bacteria with a constant supply of food– sugar, or carbohydrates. In fact, foods heavy in carbohydrates (like chips, for instance) are more likely to stick to your teeth, providing a long-lasting resource for bacterial growth. If you enjoy snacking, choose low-sugar foods like carrot sticks, and remember to floss regularly.

Dental health in every habit
Because our oral health has such a big impact on the overall health of our bodies, it’s worth it to consider dental health in all aspects of our lives. The office of Gregory A Williams, DMD wants to support our patients in creating habits and practices that support dental health for a lifetime.

Have any questions about your own habits? Talk to Dr. Williams at your next appointment. We look forward to seeing you!

Photo Credit: PeterThoeny via Compfight cc

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