Daily Activities That Can Severely Damage Teeth

April 10, 2021 | Anxiety,General Dentist

Most people are aware that eating sugary foods is bad for the teeth, but most don’t suspect that many other routine daily activities may also cause tooth damage. Some common habits can harm your tooth enamel, damage your gums and impact overall oral health.

If you think you might have suffered tooth damage from common daily activities, Dental on Central can help you to identify potential problem areas and offer solutions.

Brushing Your Teeth After Acidic Drinks

It may seem like a good idea to brush your teeth after drinking enamel-eroding acidic beverages like coffee, tea, orange juice, wine or water with lemon. While it is true that these beverages have a high level of acidity that may damage tooth enamel, you should wait an hour after consuming them before brushing your teeth. Acidic foods and drinks temporarily soften the tooth enamel. Brushing immediately after these drinks may increase enamel erosion.

Oral Anxiety Habits

Common symptoms of stress and anxiety often lead to habits that can harm teeth. These include grinding teeth during sleep, biting fingernails, chewing ice, chewing pen caps and smoking.

Bruxism – or teeth grinding – during the night may slowly wear away tooth enamel and cause problems with your jaw. Using a dentist-provided mouth guard at night can help protect your teeth from harm.

Other anxiety habits, including chewing ice, biting pens and pencils, and nail-biting, can cause erosion, chipping, cracking and malocclusion – bite problems and gaps. Furthermore, smokers are three to six times more likely to develop gum disease than nonsmokers and may experience yellowing of the tooth enamel.

Using Teeth as Tools

Using your teeth to open bottles, tear open packages or trim your nails may cause enamel erosion, cracks and broken fillings. Avoid using your teeth as tools. Using teeth to crack open nuts or chew un-popped popcorn kernels are also common causes of cracked teeth.

Brushing Too Hard

Using a toothbrush with hard bristles may eventually scour the tooth enamel off of your teeth, leaving them vulnerable to decay. Tooth enamel self-repairs by using minerals from saliva, but daily brushing with bristles that are too stiff may not allow the enamel time to repair itself and can eventually cause permanent damage.

Hard bristles should only be used occasionally to remove stains, not for daily tooth care. The American Dental Association recommends using a soft-bristled toothbrush and regarding your tooth cleaning as similar to a massage rather than a scouring.

Swimming and Contact Sports

Most people know that playing contact sports can put teeth at risk from damage due to impact injuries, but swimming can also damage teeth due to chlorine exposure. Wearing a protective mouth guard during contact sports can protect teeth from injury, but protecting teeth from chlorine is more difficult.

Frequent exposure to the chlorine in pool water may cause tooth discoloration, a build-up of calculus, tooth sensitivity and enamel erosion. Be sure the pH level is appropriate in your swimming pool and try to keep your mouth closed as much as possible while swimming.

Choosing Gummies Over Tablets

Gummy vitamins may be good for your body, but they are bad for your teeth. The combination of sticky sugar and citric-acid flavoring combine to potentially cause serious tooth damage over time. The gummy formula is clingy and causes damaging sugar and acid to remain on the teeth for longer periods compared to less sticky vitamins. Instead of gummy vitamins and supplements, choose tablets or capsules that bypass the teeth and contain no sugar or flavoring.

Snacking Between Meals

Snacking between meals may be damaging to teeth. Sticking to three meal times per day keeps teeth cleaner than eating multiple small meals or snacking. Eating frequent snacks during a busy day without time to brush causes sticky film to build up on teeth, eventually leading to plaque and tooth decay.

Routine dental cleanings can help diminish the negative effects of these common daily activities on your teeth. Schedule yours today.