Did you know that 25% of Americans over the age of 65 have lost all of their teeth? The reality is that we are all vulnerable to tooth loss if we are not brushing, flossing and attending our six-month dental cleanings. In addition to our hygiene routine, however, we must also pay attention to the bad habits that may be negatively impacting our oral health. Here are some common habits to be aware of so that you can maintain a healthy smile:
Sugar – You are probably well aware of the fact that sugar is bad for your teeth. Sticky sugars are especially destructive, as they have a tendency to adhere to your tooth’s surface and eventually destroy your tooth’s enamel. It’s okay to have a treat every once in a while, but make sure that you either brush, rinse with water or chew sugar-free gum after your indulgence. This will prevent the sugary substance from sitting on your teeth for long periods of time.
Soda – If you have a soda addiction, you need to know that you are bathing your teeth in a liquid that is high in both acids and sugar. These two components are the worst recipe for your teeth. Acidic drinks will eat away at your tooth’s enamel and leave your inner tooth layers vulnerable to decay. The sugar content is also something to look at when you grab a beverage. Protect your pearly whites and choose water instead. At the very least, swish with some water after you’ve finished drinking your soda.
Smoking – There is no doubt that smoking and chewing tobacco are dangerous for your oral health. Not only can smoking cause yellow teeth and bad breath, but it can also increase your risk for periodontal disease and oral cancer. Patients with dental implants should avoid smoking in order to prevent implant failure.
Sports — While playing sports does not necessarily harm your smile, failing to protect your teeth from contact injuries certainly can. Mouthguards should be considered an essential piece of equipment when you go on the playing field, especially for young athletes. You can buy one at a sporting goods store or have your dentist make a custom mouthguard for optimal fit and safety.
Stress — Do you grind your teeth or clench your jaw when you are stressed? Many patients do it subconsciously, or while they sleep. Other than finding ways to reduce your stress, you can also ask your dentist about a custom nighttime mouthguard to protect yourself from tooth damage and TMJ problems.
You can certainly save your teeth by paying attention to these habits. However, if you have already experienced tooth loss, these are also important in protecting your prosthetic teeth. Care for your dental implants or other restoration just the way you would your natural smile.