Making the right decisions can have a huge impact on your teeth and your overall oral health. Remember, once your adult teeth have grown in, you’re stuck with them for the rest of your life. Lose one and you can’t regrow it. So follow our advice with these 11 tips on how to protect your smile in 2018.
Most cough drops are full of sugar. And sugar is loved by bacteria, which convert the sugar into an acid that damages your teeth. Be sure to rinse your mouth after you take a cough drop, or even better, brush quickly to get rid of the sugar sticking to your teeth.
Grinding Your Teeth
Teeth grinding – also called bruxism – wears your teeth down over time. Causes are generally stress and your sleeping habits, which means it can be difficult to control. Your dentist can fit you for a night mouth guard to prevent the damage that comes from grinding your teeth while sleeping.
Gummy Bears and Their Friends
You may love gummy bears – or gummy worms – but those sugary treats are tough on your teeth. Because they stick to your teeth, the sugar and resulting acids produced by bacteria in your mouth stay in contact with your enamel for hours. That is trouble for your teeth and can lead to cavities. Eat those gummy bears and worms with a meal instead of as a stand-alone snack. The added food from your meal increases saliva production, which washes away bits of candy and the acids they produce.
Not Wearing a Mouth Guard While Playing Sports
If you or your children play a contact sport, wear a mouth guard. There’s no “maybe” on this topic. The mouth guard’s molded plastic will protect your teeth from getting chipped or knocked out while playing sports like football or hockey. You can purchase decent mouth guards at sporting goods stores or your dentist can fit you for a custom-made one.
Drinking Soda and Pop
If you want to consume 11 teaspoons of sugar at one sitting, drink a soda. And remember what sugar does in your mouth – bacteria will feel like they hit the sugar jackpot when you drink a soda. Also, all the phosphoric and citric acids in soda eat away at tooth enamel. If you think diet soft drinks are the answer, consider that you may be avoiding the sugar intake, but those artificial sweeteners may be full of even more acids that a regular soda.
Munching on Ice
If you’re an ice muncher, beware – those little frozen cubes of ice can chip or crack your pearly whites. Plus continual ice chomping irritates the soft tissue inside your tooth, which may lead to regular toothaches and sensitivity to hot and cold foods and beverages. Instead of ice, reach for a piece of sugarless gum the next time you feel an urge to munch.
Beware of Sports Drinks
Like soda, sports drinks are often high in sugar and create an acid attack on your teeth. Use them regularly and you may be opening your mouth to tooth decay. Chug water in the gym or after a workout to rehydrate your body – and skip the sugar and the calories.
Chomping on Potato Chips
Sugar isn’t the only thing that the bacteria in plaque love – they also adore starchy foods. They break them down into acid and attach your teeth for the next 20-30 minutes. Drink lots of water to wash away the acids and floss to get rid of any stray chips stuck in your teeth.
Sugar is not your mouth’s best friend, remember? Most people know that fruit juices are full of vitamins and antioxidants. What most people don’t know is that they are also full of sugar. In some cases, they have as much sugar as a soda. So check the fruit juice label to see how much sugar it contains, and look for brands that don’t add sugar but use the natural sweetness of the fruit.
If you are a fan of coffee, be aware that you could be yellowing your teeth over time because of coffee’s acidity and dark color. But coffee is also one of the easiest stains to treat with whitening solutions. For the best results, see your dentist for a professional whitening solution.
Consuming Wine – Both Red and White
Red wines can be double-trouble for your teeth. But even white wines can impact your teeth. Wines contain acids that are corrosive to your tooth enamel. They create rough spots that make teeth more vulnerable to staining. Red wine also contains a deep pigment called chromogen and tannins, which help the color stick to the teeth. This combination makes it easy for the wine’s red color to stay with you long after your glass is empty. Swishing with water after drinking or using toothpaste with a mild whitening agent can fight the staining effects of red and white wines.