You brush, floss and visit your dentist twice a year for professional cleanings and exams. However, is this enough to keep your teeth and gums healthy and beautiful? Health.com recently published an article of things that inadvertently may be ruining the look and health of your smile. Here are some of the biggest culprits:
Smoking is bad for your teeth and your overall health. Tobacco products not only dull the color of the teeth but the tar creates a sticky film on the teeth that harbors bacteria and can cause inflammation of the gums, tooth decay and tooth loss. In addition, tobacco products also increase the risk of oral cancer. According to the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, approximately 80 percent of people with oral and oropharyngeal cancers use tobacco products (e.g., cigarettes, chewing tobacco, snuff).
- Bottled Water
A bottle of water certainly seems harmless, right? It’s not dangerous, per se, but most bottled waters contain less fluoride than tap water. Fluoride is important to good oral health because it makes the tooth structure more resistant to decay. The Academy of General Dentistry says that studies have shown water fluoridation is the most effective source of fluoride. Choose wisely!
- Teeth Grinding
Chronic tooth grinding (bruxism) wears down the tooth enamel, which can cause chipping and tooth sensitivity. It also can cause jaw pain and bite problems. If you grind your teeth, get fitted for a custom mouth guard to protect your teeth.
Eating a well-balanced diet full of vitamins and nutrients is essential to maintaining a healthy smile. Extreme diet and poor nutrition will weaken the immune system, increasing susceptibility to infection and disease (including gum disease). Make sure you are eating foods full of protein, folate, vitamins B and C and calcium, which are good for the teeth and gums.
- Teeth Whitening
Occasional teeth whitening is perfectly harmless, especially when performed under the supervision of a dental professional. However, some people whiten their teeth too often, which can increase tooth sensitivity and pain.
Citrus foods like grapefruits and lemons contain acids, which may weaken the tooth and increase the risk of tooth decay. However, there’s no need to completely avoid citrus. Rinse your mouth with water after eating citrus, or chew sugar-free gum or mints that contain xylitol (an ingredient that can fight oral bacteria and cavities).
Aging makes the teeth more susceptible to decay and disease — especially around old fillings or tooth roots exposed by receding gums. Lower your risk by getting enough fluoride, either with a fluoride toothpaste or fluoride rinse.
The hormonal changes that mark puberty can cause swollen gums that are susceptible to infection, periodontal disease and mouth sores. Excellent dental hygiene will keep the smile beautiful and minimize the chance of problems.
Pregnancy-related hormonal changes, like the surge in estrogen and progesterone, may cause gum inflammation and increase the risk of infection. This is serious, as research has shown a link between uncontrolled gum disease and premature or low birth-weight babies. Ask your dentist for tips for oral hygiene during pregnancy.
Similar to the acids in citrus-y foods, the acidity in wine can affect tooth enamel, making the teeth more likely to stain. Also, heavy drinking can increase the risk of oral cancer; the Cancer Treatment Centers of America note that 70 percent of people with oral cancer are heavy drinkers. Enjoy wine in moderation and rinse the mouth with water after drinking.
Restore Health and Beauty to Your Smile
If you are unhappy with the appearance or health of your smile, and would like to meet with a dental professional, please contact Orlando dental implants provider Ronald Trevisani.