You don’t need to be a family dentist in Erie, CO to know that by brushing and flossing daily you help to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. What you might not realize, however, are all the little things you do day to day that can accumulate to take their toll on your oral health.
Even the healthiest of people practice a few habits that inadvertently harm the health of their teeth and gums. Unfortunately, damaging your oral health can mean you do unexpected harm to your overall health.
Recent studies have found surprising connections between the health of our teeth and gums and our risk for a variety of chronic diseases. Studies have found that individuals experiencing tooth decay, gum disease, and tooth loss have a higher risk for developing such illnesses as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
While researchers still don’t yet know what exactly causes the mind/body connection, it’s become very clear that protecting our oral health truly matters in order to enjoy the best health possible.
To help improve your health, here are a few habits that could be damaging your teeth and gums.
Drinking Sugar-Free Beverages
While sugar-free sodas and soft drinks might seem like the healthier choice when compared to their calorie loaded counterparts they don’t always make the healthiest alternative. For starters, drinking sugar-free beverages may actually increase your sugar cravings, according to one recent study.
Another study tested 23 sugar-free drinks – including mineral water – on extracted healthy human teeth. Researchers found that consuming these types of beverages led to 30 to 50 percent more tooth erosion – specifically due to the higher levels of citric acid these types of beverages contain.
While having a salad for lunch and dinner certainly beats out less healthy alternatives, you can certainly indulge in too much of a good thing. Salads are loaded with magnesium and calcium, which while great for the body, causes excessive tartar buildup in the mouth.
Tartar – or calcified plaque – contains harmful bacteria that contributes to the development of tooth decay and gum disease. So the extra tartar that builds up on your teeth from eating a lot of salad can inadvertently cause problems for your oral health even as the rest of your body thrives. Fortunately, you can help to limit some of the risk by staying committed to brushing twice a day and flossing daily. You may also want to consider using a tartar fighting toothpaste as well.
Brushing with an Abrasive Toothpaste
While they may all look similar when sitting on the self, not all brands of toothpaste are created equal when it comes to protecting your oral health. Whitening brands of toothpaste may promise you a whiter smile, but they could actually produce the opposite result.
Whitening toothpastes contain added abrasive compounds that are designed to scrub stains off your tooth enamel. Unfortunately, they can also wear down your tooth enamel as they strip those stains away. So while these brands may be safe to use once in a while, they can cause enamel thinning and erosion if used too often.
Your family dentist in Erie, CO appreciates when patients take their oral health seriously, but even brushing your teeth can cause problems when done incorrectly. When you brush for too long or with too much force, you can cause gum recession which exposes the roots of your teeth. This more delicate area of your mouth cannot withstand a harsh scrubbing.
Once the root becomes exposed, even more problems will begin to develop. The root is made of a material – sementum – which is far softer than bone or enamel. Patients who use the wrong brushing technique or an electric brush that scrubs too hard can wear down tooth enamel. So while brushing certainly makes for healthier teeth, just make sure you don’t overdo it.
Biting your nails may seem like an innocent enough habit but people who chew their nails cause a gum issue to develop called gingival clefts. This condition causes gum tissue to split painfully, revealing the roots of your teeth. It’s not just biting your nails that can cause this problem. Biting on any non-food object such as paper clips, toothpicks, or pens can also result in this issue developing.