Five Things You Didn't Know Were Damaging Your Teeth
We all understand the importance of good dental hygiene! Afterall, a smile is the first thing you tend to notice about someone.
You brush your teeth, you floss, you use mouthwash, and you benefit as a result. But there are some things that can damage your teeth without you knowing it! These things may not be immediately obvious, but could be as bad for you as not brushing or flossing...
1. Grinding Your Teeth
If you have a sore jaw when you wake or you are constantly noticing chips in your teeth that seem to have no obvious cause, then you may suffer from a condition known as bruxism. People with bruxism grind their teeth during the night, wearing them down, loosening them and even chipping or fracturing them.
Some sufferers report discovering the condition when they wake in the middle of the night to the sound of their own teeth being ground or chipped (yikes), but many sufferers don’t know that they have it.
There is no cure, but it’s important to discuss any concerns with your dentist as there are a number of things that can be done to reduce the damage caused as you sleep!
2. Eating Candy
We all know our mouths are filled with bacteria, but you may not know that the bacteria that feeds off the sugar that you eat, producing acids that then destroy your enamel. The longer that the sugar remains in your mouth the more damage will be done, which is why candy is one of the worst things you can eat.
When you drink soda, the sugar passes straight through your mouth and down your throat, so it's not so bad. But, when you chew candy, the sugar sticks to your teeth, getting lodged between them and trapped in holes. This then sends signals to the bad bacteria to start feeding off that sugar and producing those harmful acids.
It’s not all bad, because the minerals that are leached out of your teeth by those harmful acids can be replaced by your saliva and by brushing with a fluoride toothpaste. But, if you are constantly eating candy and neglecting to brush, then the damage occurs faster than it can be repaired, causing cavities to form.
3. Chewing Ice
People chew ice to relieve stress and to provide a welcome distraction. It’s something they may even do unknowingly––like popping a cube into their mouth after they finish their drink and then chomping away as they watch a movie or chat with friends. But it’s also something that can destroy tooth enamel.
Ice is natural and it is sugar-free. It does not trigger the release of harmful acids. However, it’s a very tough substance and can cause small cracks to develop in tooth enamel. These may not be immediately obvious, but the more you chew, the bigger they become, until one day a stabbing pain develops and you realize that this nasty habit has cost you a cavity. Ouch!
Chewing ice can harm all teeth, but it is especially damaging if you have had fillings, crowns or veneers. It’s not just ice either. Hard candy, popsicles and other hard substances designed to be sucked can also cause cracks to develop if you start chomping down on them.
4. Acidic Foods
The use of apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, and other acidic substances as natural teeth whiteners is trending, but while these may help to reduce the formation of plaque, they will also weaken your enamel. And the more you consume, the more damage you will do.
It’s not that you should avoid acidic substances altogether, but that you should limit the contact these substances make with your teeth and try to reduce the acidity in your mouth afterward, either by rinsing with water or brushing your teeth.
You should also avoid applying these substances directly onto your teeth because the infinitesimal amount of whitening it will do, will be offset by the significant damage it does to the integrity of your teeth. Instead, use a safe, regulated, at-home teeth whitening kit like SNOW, as they are designed specifically to be used at home and to produce cleaner, whiter teeth without causing harm.
5. Drinking Coffee, Tea, and Alcohol
Coffee and tea can be good for you, but they can also dry out your mouth. If you drink them with cream and sugar, then you may be at risk of bad breath, cavities, and other issues.
When your mouth is dry it means that there is very little saliva to balance the acidity and restore some minerals to your teeth. And when you add sugar to the mix, you’re giving the bad bacteria something to feed off, while not producing enough saliva to wash them and the acids they produce away.
It’s a similar story with alcohol. It dries out your mouth, reducing the formation of saliva, which is essential for strengthening your teeth and creating a neutral environment in your mouth. Excessive alcohol consumption can also lead to mouth cancer and throat cancer. Yikes.