You have just whitened your teeth using a really great home teeth whitening kit, and you’re confident your oral hygiene routine is up to scratch as you brush and floss every day. You even make the effort to visit your dentist every six months or so, and book a professional cleaning every time. So surely you’ve done everything possible to help protect your beautiful white smile, haven’t you? Probably, but it’s all too easy to fall into bad habits that could harm your teeth; you might be completely unaware you’re even doing some of them, or that they are harmful for your teeth. These include:
- Not using a sports mouth guard. Playing sports is a great way to keep healthy and fit, but if you don’t use a properly fitting mouthguard then you could be putting your teeth out risk of becoming cracked or chipped, or even knocked out completely. It’s possible to buy ready-made mouthguards relatively cheaply from chemists, but these are not particularly comfortable to wear for long periods of time and may not offer the maximum amount of protection. If you’re really keen on playing sports then it could be worthwhile asking your dentist for a custom made sports mouthguard. This will give you the maximum amount of protection and will be comfortable to wear for longer periods of time. It’s also a lot cheaper than paying expensive dental bills due to sports injuries.
- Using your teeth to crunch up ice cubes. It’s all too easy to crunch on an ice cube without really thinking about what you’re doing, but you could be damaging your teeth. Crunching up ice cubes can lead to chips and cracks forming in your teeth, and one of the first signs that you may have caused damage is noticing it’s painful or uncomfortable to eat hot or cold foods. The same thing can occur if you have got into the habit of chewing pens and pencils.
- Having an untreated teeth grinding habit. Teeth grinding can cause a lot of damage to both teeth and gums, but as it generally occurs at night it’s all too easy to miss. It’s often a stress-related habit that can be easily broken through wearing a mouthguard at night. If you think you might be grinding your teeth then book an appointment to see your dentist as soon as possible.
- Having a diet high in sugar or acid. Drinking a lot of sugary fizzy drinks can do a lot of damage to your teeth, and the diet versions often contain large amounts of acid that can soften and weaken your tooth enamel. It’s best to avoid these drinks altogether, or to use a straw to minimise contact with the teeth and only drink them occasionally.
- Tongue piercings. Dentists often see patients who have caused a considerable amount of damage to their teeth and gums through having their tongue pierced. The barbell tends to chip and crack teeth, and can cause comes to recede. A tongue piercing that cost just a few pounds to put in could end up creating expensive dental problems.
- Using teeth to open up packages. Teeth can often seem like a very convenient substitute to a pair of scissors, but using them to open up packaging can create a lot of damage.
In short, treating your teeth with a bit of respect will help them last longer without requiring expensive dental work. All of the things above are merely down to common sense, but will help ensure your gleaming white smile is also healthy.