Hopefully, you brush your teeth every morning and maybe even floss on occasion. But is this enough to prevent cavities? If, like many Americans, you regularly consume lots of sugar, skip regular dental visits and use any type of tobacco product, your teeth may be suffering. Here are the top dental health dangers and why you need to avoid them.
Consuming Too Much Sugar
If your diet is high in sugar it may be bad not only for your waistline but also for your teeth. Teeth can be damaged, and cavities can be caused by chewing gums with sugar, snacking on candies, and drinking sweet sodas and juices. But this damage can also be caused by foods that are not obviously sugar-laden. Carbohydrates contain sugars and starches that can also lead to cavities. Carbohydrate sugars leave a coating on your teeth that are converted into acids by the natural bacteria that live in your mouth. Then these acids break down the enamel on your teeth, which can cause the holes in your teeth called cavities.
Problems can especially occur when the foods are very sticky and chewy that allows the sugar to stick to your teeth. If you find it difficult to give up sugary foods completely, then try eating them as part of a meal instead of as a snack on their own. And always, after eating, give your mouth a quick rinse with water — or even better, brush your teeth.
Tobacco Product Use
There are a lot of health hazards due to tobacco products, but it also causes problems for your teeth. There is a much higher rate of gum disease among smokers versus nonsmokers. Also studies have shown that there can be rapid bone loss around teeth caused by smoking. And worse yet, chewing tobacco regularly and smoking, can increase the risk of oral cancer.
Tooth Damaging Practices
We all occasionally chew ice or perhaps a pen or pencil. Although it may seem harmless enough, it can be quite tough on your teeth and can lead to damage. Over time this can wear down the enamel on teeth.
Bruxism, or unconscious grinding of the teeth, can similarly cause this type of enamel damage. We will be able to tell from looking at your teeth if you are unconsciously grinding at night, and can even suggest a treatment, such as wearing a mouth guard while you sleep.
Overall Poor Dental Hygiene
Ignoring your own dental care may eventually result in gum disease and other dental problems. Frequent brushing, at least two times a day, and when possible after meals and snacks, plus daily flossing should be part of your regular dental health routine. Without taking care of your teeth you will allow bacteria to feed on leftover sugars and food particles in your mouth, which can result in acid that causes cavities.
Important to keeping your teeth healthy also includes regular visits to your dentist. You should plan on seeing your dentist twice a year for a cleaning and this also allows the early detection of any early signs of cavities or other issues.
By practicing good dental health, you can enjoy the benefits of a healthy smile for a long time!