We expect a lot of our teeth, whether it’s helping us eat our favorite meal or smiling at someone to say hello. Unfortunately, it’s just as easy for us to take advantage of them on a daily basis — and that can spell trouble when you least expect it.
We often think teeth last a lifetime. However, 178 million Americans are missing at least one tooth. And that’s not all — a whopping 40 million Americans are missing all their teeth! Worse yet, these numbers don’t even mention the astonishing rates of tooth decay in the country — 92% of adults and 42% of kids ages 2-11 have at least one cavity.
Fortunately, you can use these shocking statistics as a reminder that a little preventive care can go a long way in protecting your teeth and oral health.
At Healthy Smile Dental in Woodridge, Illinois, Dr. Hannah Baek is invested in your oral health and believes that taking a proactive approach can safeguard your teeth. To that end, Dr. Baek has identified the most common bad habits people practice that can ruin their teeth and ways to correct them.
Poor oral hygiene
The first bad habit is likely the most obvious — not cleaning your teeth properly. As a gentle reminder, the best way to take care of your teeth involves:
- Brushing twice a day
- Rinsing after meals
- Flossing once a day
For most people, brushing and rinsing don’t pose too terrible a burden, but the vast majority forgo flossing because of the hassle. But Dr. Baek urges you to put flossing back on the roster. That’s because flossing removes the food that gets lodged between your teeth. When ignored, it can cause plaque to form and allow harmful bacteria to set up shop and erode your teeth.
And don’t worry — if you dislike flossing, consider water flosser systems. These devices shoot powerful jets of water between your teeth to dislodge debris and work as well as traditional floss.
Brushing too enthusiastically
Dr. Baek applauds you if you brush regularly. However, before we leave the land of proper cleaning, she wants to emphasize the importance of gentle brushing.
Believe it or not, people often brush their teeth too vigorously and use bristles that are far too hard. This can put your teeth and gums at risk. Instead, use gentle, circular motions to brush your teeth on the surface. And, when choosing a toothbrush, look for soft-bristled options to preserve your protective tooth enamel and delicate gum tissue.
Biting on your nails
We know, we know; life can get stressful! But don’t take that stress out on your teeth and nails.
It may seem satisfying to bite your nails when stressed, but this is hard tissue. That means that you run the risk of chipping your teeth when you chew on them. Plus, nail biting can place added stress on your jaw.
Grinding or clenching your teeth
Stress can also cause people to grind or clench their teeth, which can wreak havoc on their teeth and jaws. Worse yet, you can do it without even realizing it. This is often seen with night grinding, a notorious habit for wearing down teeth.
If you grind or clench your teeth, Dr. Baek can protect your teeth. Come in for a visit so we can outfit you with a night guard.
Chewing ice or hard candy
Another bad habit that can ruin teeth in a heartbeat is chewing on hard substances like ice. It may seem safe since it’s just frozen water, but it’s crucial to understand that ice is strong enough to break or chip your teeth.
Similarly, hard candy may seem sweet, but it’s the enemy for two reasons. First, like ice, these candies are hard and put you at risk of breaking or chipping your teeth each time you enjoy them. But they’re equally bad if you enjoy them over time. That’s because when you leisurely suck away on these sweets, the sugars linger in your mouth, encouraging tooth decay.
Skipping safety gear
Finally, if you play a sport where your face may be in the line of fire, it’s crucial to protect your mouth and teeth with a sports guard every time you’re in the game. Dr. Baek can get you set up with a custom sports guard to shield your teeth from whatever comes their way.
This is only the beginning when it comes to protecting your teeth daily. If you’d like to learn more, Dr. Baek can help. For all of your dental needs, contact Healthy Smile Dental in Woodridge, Illinois, by calling 630-910-1900 today.