Bad Dental Habits Ruin Good Teeth and Gums
By William Stofer on October 22, 2015
A few bad dental habits can lead to serious oral and overall health problems, for kids as well as adults. While restorative and general dentistry can certainly correct any problems caused by bad habits, preventing problems is always preferred. By learning which habits to avoid, and which healthy habits to improve, you can avoid the pain, expense, and time needed to repair dental damage. To learn more about bad dental habits, contact our Warsaw, IN practice today.
Avoid Dental Emergencies
Urgent situations happen when we are least prepared for them. So, to prevent emergency situations, prepare to protect yourself. For instance, athletes of all ages and sports should wear a sports mouth guard to prevent dental injury. Mouth guards can be purchased over the counter in unfitted or boil and bite styles, or we can create a custom-fitted mouth guard at your dental visit.
Six-month checkups and cleanings can also prevent dental emergencies. At checkups, we can detect the earliest signs of tooth decay, fractures, and tooth wear, and then correct the problems before they progress. A small cavity can turn into a large cavity that causes pain. In some cases, a cavity grows so large that it infects the nerve of a tooth, in which case you’d need root canal therapy and a crown. Seemingly small cracks in teeth can grow over time, and without treatment your tooth may chip when you least expect it.
Reduce the Risk for Erosion and Wear
Tooth erosion and wear involve the thinning of enamel. Acidic beverages and foods can erode tooth enamel, as can grinding and gnashing the teeth. Enamel is the hardest substance the human body creates, but it is susceptible to erosion and wear. When enamel thins, the sensitive underlying dentin is more sensitive to temperature and pressure fluctuations.
To reduce your risk for enamel erosion and wear, avoid consuming acidic foods and beverages. Drink citrus and carbonated drinks through a straw, and rinse your mouth with water afterward. People who suffer from GERD (gastrointestinal reflux disease) tend to have more enamel erosion and cavities. Treating the condition with antacids can help your stomach, esophagus, and oral environment.
Also, if you clench or grind your teeth, we can create a night guard for you. This simple device should be worn at night to keep the upper and lower teeth from touching, thus eliminating the potential for grinding. The dentist may detect signs of tooth wear during your checkup, or your sleeping partner may also notice if you clench or grind your teeth during the night.
Another cause of tooth wear is chewing ice or habitually nibbling on hard objects, like pen caps or fingernails. If you want to chew on something, chew a piece of sugar-free gum instead of ice.
Stop Gum Disease Before It Starts
Gum disease, or periodontal disease, affects about half of all Americans and is the main reason that adults lose teeth. To reduce your risk for developing gum disease, brush and floss regularly and attend six-month checkups and cleanings.
At cleanings, a hygienist examines the gums for signs of disease. Found in the earliest stage, gum disease is more easily treated. Left to worsen, early gingivitis can advance into severe periodontitis, causing tooth loss and jawbone death. But you can avoid these extreme situations by regularly attending six-month cleanings and practicing good oral homecare each day.
If you notice that your gums bleed when brushing your teeth, or they are swollen, red, or tender, schedule an appointment for an evaluation. When we find and treat gum disease in the earliest stage, it is less likely to become serious.
Keeping Your Smile Sensational
At Dental Solutions, we want to partner with you to improve and maintain your optimal oral health. With regular home and professional dental care, you might retain your natural teeth throughout your entire life. Call us today to schedule an appointment for your checkup, cleaning, or consultation.
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