The Enemies of Your Teeth


So sweet, so delicious, and so bad for your teeth! Sugars in foods promote bacteria in the mouth that produce acids that dissolve and damage teeth. Sugar is in almost every prepackaged food we eat, and trying to avoid it can be a difficult task. Sugar is found in many beverages, including sodas, sports drinks, energy drinks, sweet teas, and more. Tooth erosion can occur when acids dissolve the outer surface of the tooth enamel, and this loss can lead to tooth sensitivity or cavities. You may not be noticing the sugar in foods such as cough drops, that you hold next to your teeth for prolonged periods, allowing bacteria to proliferate. Even worse can be sticky candies, such as gummy bears, that can stick in the crevices of your teeth and are not washed away by saliva. Along with gummy bears, jelly beans, caramels, and even raisins or other dried fruits can stick on the teeth and damage the enamel. If you do eat or drink sugary foods, rinse your mouth after, to get the acid-causing bacteria out. Brush your teeth if you have eaten sticky sweets to get them off your teeth. Being aware that sugars can be damaging to your teeth can make you more careful to keep your teeth clean and evaluate your eating habits.

Teeth as Tools

If you have the bad habit of chewing on pens or pencils, or if you use your teeth to open packaging, you are increasing your risk of dental problems. Don’t use your teeth as a third hand, instead look at your teeth as surfaces that need to be protected. Opening bags or bottle tops with your teeth, opening nuts or shells with your teeth, or using your teeth to hold nails, screws, or strip wires, is dangerous! All of these activities can lead to chips or fractures in your teeth, and wear away at your biting surfaces. Reach for an appropriate instrument and spare your teeth. If you have a habit of chewing on items, know that this is not good for your teeth either, and try to break it as soon as possible. Over time, all of these activities wear away at tooth enamel and can lead to serious dental problems.

Thumb Sucking

If your child is stuck on thumb sucking, getting them to quit can avoid a lifetime of dental problems. Thumb sucking not only can push the top teeth out, and increase an overbite, but the constant downward pressure of the thumb on the lower jaw can impede growth and lead to crowding. All of these situations make your child more likely to need orthodontics in the future, and if not corrected can lead to other dental problems. Thumb, or finger, sucking is a habit that should be broken early, to avoid all of the potential problems and risks. There are many tips and tricks to get your child to stop sucking their thumb, find the one that suits your child best.

Grinding Your Teeth

Also known as bruxism, teeth grinding can be inherited, and is linked to stress and anxiety. Many people grind their teeth in their sleep, and are unaware they are doing it. Aware or not, teeth grinding is linked to numerous dental problems, including: chipped tooth enamel, cracked teeth, loose teeth, jaw joint problems, and even tooth loss. If you wake up with a sore jaw, neck aches, a dull headache, or have a clicking sound when you open and close your jaw, you should check with your dentist to see if you may be grinding your teeth. Some remedies to teeth grinding include: a mouth guard, correcting your bite, and learning to manage stress in other ways. If you know you are grinding your teeth, making a concerted effort to stop will help ensure good dental health.

Not Using a Mouth Guard

We wear helmets in football, shin guards in soccer, and knee pads in volleyball, so why don’t we protect our teeth? Your teeth are incredibly susceptible to damage while playing sports, and a mouthguard is essential for protecting your teeth. There are hundreds of thousands of sports-related mouth injuries each year, and millions of teeth are knocked out. Once a tooth is knocked out, the treatment options become much more involved. Practice preventative protection and wear, or encourage your children to wear, mouthguards while playing sports. Many sports can lead to mouth injuries, including: basketball, hockey, football, lacrosse, softball, soccer, martial arts, andskateboarding to name a few. A mouthguard protects not only your teeth, but also the soft tissues of the lips, tongue, cheeks, and gums. Do your mouth a favor, and invest in a mouthguard to protect your teeth!

As you can see, there are many everyday enemies to your teeth. Take steps to eliminate them from your life, for the protection of your teeth and overall oral health. If you have existing dental issues, or just need a dental checkup, Meadowbrook Dental Care in Mineola would love to serve you-contact us today!

Dr. Miguel Casanas, Jr. Dr. Casañas has worked and trained extensively to build a practice that exceeds your expectations of trusted, personalized dental care. He consistently brings his patients only the best that modern dentistry has to offer by keeping himself and his staff informed on the latest advances and available techniques.

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