Protecting your smile and maintaining good oral health goes beyond daily brushing and flossing. In fact, many things that cause tooth damage are a result of the things we do every day, sometimes multiple times a day, without realizing it. The team at our dental office in Sparks wants you to stop doing these five things to help better protect your smile and overall oral health.
We understand that sometimes you just want to chew on the refreshingly cold ice in your drink. But you really shouldn’t. Chewing on really hard ice cubes can cause tiny chips in your teeth and can even break a large piece of a tooth right off. Gnawing on big pieces of ice can even damage existing dental work such as fillings or crowns which would then need to be repaired.
Biting Your Nails
Biting your nails is a habit that’s dangerous for your smile and your overall health. Your nails are a perfect place for tons of bacteria to hide and a great spot for you to pick up more bacteria from all the things you touch throughout the day. Now, think about what may be getting into your mouth as you bite or chew on your fingernails? Pretty gross, huh? But that’s not all. Biting your nails can cause chips and cracks in your teeth and may even contribute to jaw pain or damage.
Brushing Too Hard
Believe it or not, there is such as thing as brushing your teeth too hard. A rough tooth scrubbing can scratch the protective layer of tooth enamel and actually leave teeth at increased risk for decay. Using a medium or hard bristled toothbrush may also cause similar damage to teeth. Your gums can also be negatively affected by brushing too hard. They can recede, exposing more of the tooth roots and increasing sensitivity.
Eating Acidic Foods
Acidic foods like citrus fruits such as lemons, oranges, and grapefruit can erode tooth enamel and leave teeth exposed to bacteria, increasing the likelihood of decay as well as sensitivity. When you do just have to have that orange or drink that glass of wine, try to pair it with drinking a glass of water to neutralize the acids.
Smoking, or really using any type of tobacco, can greatly increase the chance of developing scary oral health problems such as gum disease and oral cancer. Both of these serious health problems can lead to other issues all their own. Smoking can also affect the appearance of teeth by causing them to yellow or take on a slightly brownish tint.
Your dentist in Sparks is dedicated to helping you get and keep a smile you’re proud of. Besides maintaining regular dental appointments and brushing and flossing regularly, pay attention to how some of your daily habits can affect your smile. Try to reduce the risk of damage by knowing your habits and working to stop them.
By now we all know that smoking is bad for our health. It increases the risk for cancer, heart disease, and numerous other problems throughout the body. Your mouth is no exception. This November, during the Great American Smokeout sponsored by the American Cancer Society, our dental office in Sparks wants to help the cause of moving towards a smoke-free life by providing our community members with some more reasons to quit.
How Smoking Affects Your Oral Health
One of the commonly overlooked dangers of smoking is how it affects oral health. But it’s certainly a concern for your dentist in Sparks. The truth is, several oral health problems are directly related to smoking, and continuing to smoke can put you at increased risk for:
- Dry mouth
- Bad breath
Tips to Quit
Smoking is addictive and therefore not easy to quit. Some people even try quitting multiple times before they succeed at never picking up another cigarette. We understand how difficult quitting can be and are here to provide support for anyone looking to improve their health by never lighting up again.
- Find a Support Team. Trying to do something as difficult as quitting smoking isn’t easy to do on your own. Sometimes it’s made easier by finding trusted friends, family members, or health professionals to help. Make sure your chosen quit team can be supportive in the way you need them to be and set up a plan with them.
- Identify Your Reasons to Quit. Writing out a physical list of why you want to quit smoking can be a great first step to success. Seeing your reasons on paper may help them feel more ‘real.’ When you have a strong craving, get out your list and remind yourself all of the reasons why quitting is important.
- Know Your Triggers. Part of what can make quitting so difficult is that smokers often develop a routine to when they smoke — on the car ride to work, when drinking alcohol, drinking coffee in the morning, to name a few. While some triggers may be harder to avoid than others, try your best to steer clear of anything that will make you want to light up.
- Find Alternatives. Another thing that makes it difficult to quit smoking is that smokers get so used to having something in their hand that when they suddenly don’t, it feels uncomfortable. Keep your hands busy by holding a pencil or straw. This can mimic the feeling of a cigarette and ease the mind.
This year’s Great American Smokeout can be your time to finally quit smoking. On November 15, make a plan to quit and stick to it. Select a quit date and take the steps to become smoke free by that date. Your physician, along with our Sparks dental office, can also provide you with additional ways to help.