Everyone has heard these time-honored pieces of dental advice:
- Don’t eat too many sweets.
- Be sure to brush and floss properly every day.
- Get regular dental checkups.
But there are other pieces of advice with which you may not be familiar. For example, did you know that one of the most damaging things you can do to your teeth occurs while you're sleeping? Following are five surprising things that you may not realize can damage your teeth.
Bruxism, which is another name for teeth grinding, can damage not only teeth, but the jaw as well. It occurs most often while sleeping. Speak with your general dentist about the possibility of a fitted mouth guard that can protect your teeth during the night.
Saliva is not just necessary to help break down food, it is also one of your tooth’s best friends. Saliva cleanses teeth to help prevent tooth decay and other dental problems. While everyone has dry mouth from time to time, certain medications can cause dry mouth. While the condition itself is not damaging, it places teeth at risk for developing cavities and other oral health problems. Tell your dentist if you're experiencing dry mouth and provide a list of medications you are taking.
This habit can hurt tooth enamel and leave your teeth vulnerable to decay or other damage.
A diet in fruits and vegetables is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. However, too much exposure to acidic foods—particularly citrus fruits—can spell trouble. Not only can the acids in oranges and lemons wear away at enamel, but they can also agitate and irritate mouth sores.
Any Food That Can Get Stuck In The Teeth
We’re looking at you, popcorn, potato chips, and even white bread. Anything that transforms to a gummy consistency when chewed or has small pieces like popcorn husks can lodge between teeth, making it difficult to remove and setting the stage for tooth decay to take control. If you have any of these habits, put an effective action plan in place to help prevent tooth decay and damage that can result. For example: instead of chewing ice to cool down, drink water instead. Staying hydrated can also help you if you are suffering from dry mouth. Diligently flossing and cleaning teeth after eating popcorn or corn on the cob can help prevent pieces from getting stuck between teeth, where they can harbor bacteria. But most important, be sure you have a professional dental cleaning scheduled twice a year. If you have any questions concerning your dental health, speak to your dentist.
Sources: American Dental Association. Mouth Healthy: “Concerns.” American Dental Association. Mouth Healthy: “Top 9 Foods That Will Damage Your Teeth.” Drummond, Katie. Prevention.com “25 Foods Dentists Won’t Eat.”