Teeth tend to be something most people don’t think about much until they are causing pain or discomfort. While some people can be more susceptible to tooth decay than others, there are basic things to help keep your teeth healthy, such as brushing daily and regular dental appointments. But, some of the hazards that can be damaging to your teeth aren’t all that uncommon.

Pay attention to these seven tooth-health dangers and consider if you need to change your dental care routine.

Biting nonfood items

Teeth might seem sharp, but they aren’t meant for tasks like tearing open plastic packaging or biting fingernails. By the way, biting nails can also even lead to gingivitis and tooth loss. The tip of each tooth is the thinnest and weakest part making it subject to chipping or breakage when biting or chewing things that are not meant for teeth. Even chewing Ice is a hazard due to it’s very hard surface which can easily harm tooth enamel or even cause broken or chipped teeth.

Acidic and sticky foods

It’s common knowledge that sticky and sugary foods increase the risk of cavities, but even healthier foods can be just as damaging. Fruit smoothies and juicing are increasingly popular because they are high in vitamins and minerals, but their sugar and acid content is also high. Sipping these drinks through a straw and drinking plain water to rinse your mouth afterward can help keep your enamel from being eroded too badly.  Any sticky substances that remain on the tooth break down and form acids that start the decaying process.

Caffeine and alcohol

Soda is one of the worst things for your teeth due to the high amount of sweeteners, carbonation (which erodes enamel) and caffeine, which can dry out the mouth. A dry mouth is especially vulnerable to decay because your saliva acts as a rinsing agent that helps clear off harmful bacteria. Coffee and tea can also become a problem if your drinking them with too much sugar. The sugary add-ons along with the drying effects of caffeine to your mouth mean additional risks of cavities.

Similar to caffeinated beverages, alcohol reduces the flow of saliva in your mouth. Heavy drinking also increases the risk of oral cancers.

Overdoing it on brushing and flossing

Just like poor dental hygiene can be harmful to your teeth, being overzealous in your dental care can also be damaging. Using a tough-bristled brush and repetitive back-and-forward motions can wear away enamel and even contributing to receding gums. It’s better to use a soft-bristled brush and be sure to be careful when flossing, too.

Grinding or clenching teeth

A stressful and fast-paced world causes more and more people to experience issues caused by grinding or clenching their teeth at night. Some people are not even be aware they are doing it, but facial and jaw soreness in the morning is a good sign.

Grinding and clenching your teeth can result in enamel erosion and even cracking or chipping of your teeth. If you think you might have this problem, talk to your dentist about getting a specially made mouthguard to prevent further damage.

Drug abuse

Tooth loss and tooth decay are just another item among a long list of reasons abusing drugs is bad for your health. Drugs such as methamphetamine (meth), heroin, cocaine, ecstasy, and even marijuana can cause problems for your teeth and gums.

Poor dental hygiene and ignoring problems

Usually, tooth pain is what gets people in to see their dentist. However, some people might have a swollen gum here or a sensitive tooth there that they might wait to see if it gets better on its own. But as with anything in dental health, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Problems from decay, hygienic neglect or some other issue will worsen and cause more damage if left unchecked. A small cavity can spread to the tooth’s root and result in a root canal or even total tooth loss. Gum infections and gum disease are also left to continue all too often, with devastating results.

If you have questions about your oral health it’s always best to talk with your dental professional.  Taking good care of your teeth and gums, along with keeping up with cleanings and checkups will have a significant impact in the long run.

American Dental Group is a family-owned Colorado company partnering with independent hometown dentists to deliver high quality dental care to our members.  See how an American Dental Group membership can save you money on dental care, vision materials, and prescription drugs.

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