We love our teeth. They help us eat, they give us a beautiful smile, and they keep our jaw bones healthy and strong. But sometimes we do things to our teeth that are bad for them and can cause irreparable damage. Some of these bad habits can be easy to break, but others take some practice. Here are just a few things you should never ever do with your teeth - and some solutions, too.
Chewing Gum With Sugar
You may think that all chewing gum is equal, and that chewing any gum will benefit your smile by neutralizing plaque acids in the mouth. But this simply isn’t true. Not all gum is good for our teeth. Gum with sugar is actually bad for the teeth because it not only coats the teeth with sugar as you chew, but it also holds that sugar in your mouth for as long as you’re chewing, effectively making it worse than eating a sugary snack that takes less time to consume. The solution to this, of course, is to chew sugarless gum. Sugarless gum has been clinically proven to neutralize that nasty plaque acid, and it is actually good for the teeth!
Using Your Teeth to Open Packages
We’ve all done it before, but using your teeth for anything besides chewing food is just a bad idea. It can cause uneven or excessive wear on the teeth or even cracks or chips. If you are struggling to open a package, use an appropriate implement, like scissors or a knife, and save your teeth for chewing food!
We probably don’t need to remind you of the myriad dangers of smoking. It is very bad for your overall health - including your teeth. Not only does it cause permanent staining and discoloration, but it can also cause gum disease, which causes inflammation of the gums and can eventually lead to bone loss, lost teeth and a host of other conditions. If you smoke, make an effort to quit. It could save your teeth and your life.
Using Charcoal Toothpaste
The new trend in oral care is charcoal toothpaste. Made with ground charcoal, this black paste is supposed to whiten teeth better than traditional toothpaste, but don’t believe the hype. Charcoal toothpaste may remove some surface staining, but it is extremely abrasive and can damage your tooth enamel. If your teeth are looking a little off-colored, stick to regular whitening toothpaste, chewing gum with whitening properties, or better yet, schedule an appointment with Dr. Lederman for a cleaning.
Grinding Your Teeth
Known clinically as bruxism, grinding your teeth is extremely bad for them. Unfortunately, we often grind our teeth without even realizing we’re doing it. This makes stopping very difficult. Signs you may be unconsciously grinding your teeth include a stiff or sore jaw, uneven tooth wear, or chipped or cracked teeth. These are also the reasons why you should stop.
If you think you might be grinding your teeth, try to do a self-evaluation in times of stress. If you’re stuck in traffic, stop and pay attention to your body language. Are you tense? Is some of that tension in your jaw? If so, speak to Dr. Lederman about having a bite guard made. A custom bite guard is so comfortable you won’t even know you’re wearing it - and it will bear the brunt of your grinding teeth, keeping them safe.
Remember, the best way to protect your teeth is to care for them regularly by brushing, flossing, attending regular cleanings, and using your teeth for what they are intended for. Avoiding these behaviors can extend the life of your teeth and maintain that beautiful smile.