5 Horrible Habits That Can Harm Your Teeth
If you are a dental rockstar who brushes your teeth at least twice a day, flosses at least once a day and avoids highly acidic foods and sugary snacks, you still might be harming your oral health by committing one of the following dental habits: 1. Not flossing Brushing your teeth twice a day is important, but many patients don't realize that flossing at least once a day is just as critical to achieving—and maintaining—a healthy smile. Flossing removes the cavity-causing bacteria left behind from food particles that get stuck between teeth. "Although bleeding and irritation can occur when you first start flossing, it's important to keep at it," says Dr. Carol Montee. "You will need to floss for about two weeks to reverse gingivitis, which is marked by bleeding swollen and tender gums." In addition, not flossing over time can lead to a more serious condition, periodontitis, which occurs when plaque hardens into tartar which produces toxins that destroy the bone supporting your teeth. The end result is the tooth will loosen and fall out or require extraction. 2. Brushing too soon after eating Consuming acidic foods and beverages such as sodas and sports drinks, citrus fruits, wine and tomatoes can erode tooth enamel—the glossy outer layer of the tooth. Brushing your teeth too soon after eating and drinking these items can cause more damage because you are essentially brushing the acid into the teeth, not getting rid of it. Instead, you should rinse your mouth with water after consuming acidic foods and beverages and wait at least 30 minutes before brushing your pearly whites! 3. Not replacing your toothbrush often enough Not only are old toothbrushes ineffective, but they also harbor harmful bacteria that can cause infections, such as gingivitis. Toothbrushes should be changed every four months. "It's also important to change your toothbrush after you've had a cold once you are feeling better," says Dr. Stan Montee. 4. Excessively bleaching your teeth Overzealous bleaching can cause your teeth to look unnaturally white and increase tooth sensitivity. “Before using an at-home bleaching product, talk to your dentist as he or she can advise you on how to get the best results," says Dr. Montee. In many cases, custom made trays by your dentist are far superior to over-the-counter bleaching products. 5. Using a hard-bristled toothbrush A hard-bristled toothbrush coupled with an aggressive brushing technique can cause irreversible damage to your gums. Use a soft toothbrush and gently brush your teeth at a 45-degree angle, in a circular motion. Using a back-and-forth, sawing motion causes the gums to recede, and can expose the root of the tooth, making teeth extremely sensitive. To schedule a dental cleaning, teeth whitening, oral cancer screening or other dental service, contact Montee & Montee Dental Co in Green Hills, TN and let Dr. Montee help you build and maintain a beautiful, healthy smile.