Checklist for the dental deviant

Just imagine: you brush your teeth after every meal, floss regularly, and religiously visit the dentist twice a year – but you still don’t have good oral hygiene, because all that effort is undermined by the bad dental habits that you also engage in, sometimes unconsciously. Find below the worst crimes committed by an unsuspecting dental deviant.

Sipping soda

How many times do you drink soda in a day? You may love the taste of soda, but anything too sugary-sweet and acidic can promote tooth decay. Meanwhile, too much coffee and iced tea can cause teeth discoloration in the bargain. It may be a good idea to switch to fresh fruit juices or plain water, but if you really like your soda, sip it through a straw and thereby minimize your exposure to soda. Be sure the straw is positioned toward the back of the mouth, not resting against your teeth.

Chomping on ice

How many times have you slurped down an ice-cold soda and then munched on the leftover ice cubes or crushed ice? The brittleness and cold temperature of ice cubes can actually cause teeth to fracture. At the very least, they can cause microscopic cracks in the surface of the enamel, which could lead to bigger dental problems over time. In fact, other hard food items, such as popcorn kernels, and fruit pits, tend to stress the teeth and should also be avoided.

“Teething” vs. scissors

How often have you used your teeth to tear open a bag of potato chips, maybe to uncap a bottle of ibuprofen, even to rip a price tag off a piece of clothing? Using your teeth as a tool can be hard on your teeth, traumatizing them or causing the edge of a weakened tooth to chip off or even fracture. A too sharp edge may even wound your gums or scratch your teeth. Why not just keep simple tools such as a pair of scissors, a nail-cutter, and even a pair of pliers handy to do your dirty work? It will save your teeth.

Grinding your teeth

You may be mad, you may be nervous or anxious, you just may be antsy with little to do but twiddle your thumbs, but whichever the case, grinding your teeth can wear them down. Your dentist may suggest wearing a mouth guard to protect your teeth from unconscious grinding at night. However, during the day time, perhaps it’s best to pause, stop the grinding, and channel your energy elsewhere.

Too-firm brushing

Do you like firm rather than soft bristles on your dental toothbrush? With age, the gums push back and the roots of the teeth become exposed, often increasing sensitivity. The root is covered with cementum, which is worn away more easily than enamel. A brush with too-firm bristles may irritate the gums and lead to sensitive teeth. Do you also brush your teeth too firmly, moving from side to side rather than in an even, circular motion? A brush handled too roughly, will also exacerbate the problem. It’s best to ask your dentist or hygienist to recommend a toothbrush tailored for your needs, and try a gentler hand with the brushing.

Swallowing toothpaste is harmful for kids

Good habits are best taught early… Does your child like the minty taste of toothpaste, and ask you to put more than a pea-sized dollop on his toothbrush? If your child, whose teeth are still in the early stage of development, uses too much toothpaste – to the point of ingesting it regularly – this can have harmful effects on his dental health. Ingesting too much fluoride can cause a condition known as fluorosis, where white or brown spots can form on the teeth in severe cases.

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