Everyone knows that proper care and hygiene is required to keep us healthy. The same is true for our pearly whites – 32 teeth that should be sitting pretty inside our mouth. I say should be since most often we are probably damaging them rather than caring for them. It’s not breaking news that it is vital to care for your teeth since neglect could lead to cavities, gum disease and other problems. The truth is that so many of us make these mistakes so often that they have become habits – bad habits. Let’s see what we are doing wrong and know that not doing these will keep your teeth safe, clean and strong with a soft pink set of gums to hold them.
Regular bad Habits
How many of us know that we should brush our teeth for at least 2-3 minutes? This is the length of time recommended by any dentist. If you are unsure of how much time you actually spend on this crucial activity, put a two or three minute alarm on a small clock or use a 2 or 3 minute hourglass. Remember to brush your teeth as the last thing before you go to bed. That’s twice daily!
Please don’t harass your teeth by using hard bristled brushes. Use a soft or ultra-soft bristled toothbrush to keep damage to the minimum. Dentists recommend changing your toothbrush every 2 months or when the bristles look frayed or flattened, whichever is earlier.
Biting and chewing ice
In the hot and sweltering sun, it seems like a great idea to have bits of ice float down our throat – I remember doing this too. It seemed quite harmless since it was fun but the teeth do not enjoy this habit. Biting ice can cause tiny cracks in the teeth which is actually an irreversible damage.
Over time these cracks become bigger causing teeth fracture – yes fracture! Wouldn’t you much rather drink really cold water or a chilled refreshing fluid? Remember to rinse your mouth if you do have a sweetened drink.
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When we get angry our teeth suffer too!
Well, we clench them really hard or grind them against each other putting pressure not just on them but also on the jaw, mouth muscles and the jaw joint. Some people may be unaware that they suffer from a condition called ‘bruxism’ due to which they could be grinding or clenching their teeth, especially while sleeping. This condition comes about by increased stress and with time could cause serious damage to the teeth and the person constantly has severe pain in the jaw.
Practice remaining calm, try relaxing and learn techniques to help calm you down and for people with bruxism, dentists also recommend wearing a mouth guard at night to prevent damage to the teeth.
Infections irritate your throat leading to a cough
For instant relief we do pop cough drops and they help. However, they can cause harm to the teeth since they are loaded with sugar and if they are constantly in your mouth, your teeth are constantly coated in sugar. We then forget and go about our chores leaving the decay and cavity causing bacteria enough time to wreak havoc on our pearly whites.
You would be better off to buy sugar free cough drops and or keep sipping on hot water to soothe the angst of your throat and teeth.
Using your teeth as an opener?
Of course you have – ketchup sachets, your favourite snack bag, hair clips and some daring ones even use their teeth to pop open bottles. Even if doing so seems like the most convenient and ‘cool’ way, it exposes your teeth to chipping, fractures and even breaking. Just use good old-fashioned tools like scissors and bottle openers please!
Engaged in deep thought or concentrating really hard?
What’s that in your mouth? Right – your pencil or pen on which your teeth are being made to chew. Again, your teeth are exposed serious damage over time. If you must chew on something, try sugarless gum – these not only prevent damage they also clean your teeth as you chew on them.
In addition, things like hard or chewy candy, soft drinks, smoking, coffee and regular snacking torment your teeth. A visit to the dentist is never a pleasant one – it’s painful and expensive and each of us have 32 of them! For children it can be quite a scary experience and tooth pain is excruciating – not quite like any pain they have experienced. Why put yourself and them through this torture – take care of your pearly whites.
Remember to drop in to your dentist’s clinic at least twice a year to ensure that all is right with your precious 32!
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