You brush your teeth twice a day and floss daily. You have regular checkups with your dentist every six months. You are doing everything you are supposed to do to keep your teeth healthy. Then one day, you wake up with a toothache. To your dismay, when you visit the dentist, he tells you that you have a crack in one tooth and a cavity in the tooth next to it. You are in shock. How could your teeth be in such bad shape when you follow the rules? Most likely, it’s because you have some bad dental habits you didn’t realize were destructive to your teeth. In this blog we will outline some of the habits you may have that are destroying your teeth. If you feel like you may be guilty of one or more of these bad habits, call our Covina, CA office at (626) 332-1014 and schedule a consultation with Dr. Michael Huang for an exam and make sure any problems are caught in their early stages.
Some people do it without even realizing it. You finish a nice cold drink and start crunching on the ice cubes. You figure ice is made out of water, so it shouldn’t hurt. When that water is frozen, though, the combination of hard and cold can combine to cause cracks or fractures in your teeth. Crunching on hard candy is just as bad, because you are combining the hardness with an excessive amount of sugar. Instead of crunching, try chewing a piece of sugarless gum. It will help to freshen your breath and encourages saliva production, which washes away harmful decay-causing bacteria.
Using Your Teeth as Tools
Have you ever had that bag of chips that just didn’t want to open? You try tearing it open from the little notch that says “tear here,” but it doesn’t rip. What do you do when that happens? For too many people the answer is that they use their teeth to open the bag. Your teeth should never be used for anything other than chewing food, pronunciation, and smiling. Using your teeth to pop open bottles, rip open bags, or break plastic tags off of clothes will lead to chips and cracks in the enamel. The enamel on your teeth is the strongest substance in your body, but constantly using your teeth as tools will eventually wear down enamel, which can lead to major damage.
There is nothing better in the morning than a cold glass of orange juice. Some days, when you’ve been out in the sun working up a sweat, an ice cold soda sounds like the best thing in the world. Unfortunately, these sugary beverages contribute to the destruction of your teeth. The sugar coats your teeth and produces acids that lead to tooth decay. Not only that, but sugary drinks are high in calories and have very little nutritional value. Instead of sugary beverages, try drinking a glass of water. It helps reduce the amount of decay causing bacteria in your mouth and contributes to your overall well-being by keeping you hydrated and healthy.
It’s a fact…tobacco is bad for you. Whether you smoke it or chew it, tobacco has no redeeming value. Tobacco causes lung disease, heart disease, and cancer. It causes bad breath and makes your clothes smell bad. It also wrecks your teeth. Tobacco contains two staining agents, tar and nicotine. Tar is naturally dark in color and nicotine, while naturally clear, turns yellow when mixed with oxygen. Smoking for even a short time will cause your teeth to turn yellow, and may also contribute to gum disease and mouth cancer. If you smoke, quitting now won’t just save your teeth, it may save your life.
The project deadline at work, student loan bills, rush hour traffic, a sick dog, and trying to get Jimmy to soccer practice on time. These worries add up to a mountain of stress that may have you buried. Too much stress takes a toll on your body in many ways, but one sacrifice you may not have thought about is the wearing down of your teeth. You may not even realize you are doing it, but when you are under stress, you probably grind your teeth. It happens to everyone from time to time, but if you start waking up every morning with a headache and pain in your neck in shoulders, then the grinding of your teeth (called bruxism) may be a real problem. Bruxism can lead to worn down or cracked teeth, receding gums, or a stiff jaw. It is a hard habit to break, but Dr. Huang can provide relief. The doctor offers a custom made night guard, called an occlusal splint, which allows your jaws to come together without the teeth touching, preventing grinding.
Call for a Consultation
If you feel you may benefit from an occlusal splint or would like to have an exam to make sure none of these bad habits have adversely affected your teeth, call our Covina, CA office at (626) 332-1014 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Huang today.