Looking after our teeth to ensure a smile that lasts a lifetime takes a lot of time, effort and expense. Here are a few simple solutions for breaking any bad habits.
1. Grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw
If you’ve woken up with a headache or migraine, or even a sore jaw, chances are you’re grinding your teeth while you sleep. This clenching or grinding, also known as bruxism, mostly takes place when you’re asleep, although some people grind their teeth during the day too, especially when they are feeling stressed or under pressure. Sadly, one of the effects of this conditions is the wearing away of your teeth. Another is the changing shape of your jaw… the constant ‘working out’ of the jaw muscles makes it look much squarer, and even more masculine. If you suffer from bruxism, speak to your Dentist about prescribing a mouthguard such as the F.O.S. solution.
2. Rinsing your teeth after you brush
We’ve always been taught to rinse our mouths out after brushing our teeth, however new research shows that you can actually flush away the protective fluids left in your mouth from toothpaste.
Fluoride in toothpaste is designed to help repair tooth enamel. Not rinsing with water means you allow this chemical an opportunity to do to its work. Once you’ve brushed, the advice is to not drink anything for at least 30 minutes. All you need do is spit out your toothpaste and your dental hygiene routine is complete.
3. Sugary foods affect dental health
While it has long been known that sugar leads to tooth decay, it’s less commonly known that sugars in foods such as dried fruit also damage teeth. Some lesser known places where sugar may be lurking is in sports drinks, energy drinks and juices. If you do wish to indulge in sweet treats, make sure you follow up by drinking some water – preferably tap water that contains fluoride. This will help rinse out your mouth and dilute the sugar that sticks to the tooth surface.
4. Exercising can cause tooth damage
While part of a healthy lifestyle is exercising regularly, some workouts – such as high-intensity cardio-based exercise – can actually cause tooth problems. A recent study showed endurance athletes were more likely to suffer tooth erosion (a gradual wearing away of enamel) than those who don’t exercise. The reason for this was that exercising reduced saliva. Saliva is important in dental health because it contains minerals that nurture teeth and neutralise acids. One simple solution to this is to always ensure you’re sipping on water so your mouth remains adequately hydrated. Don’t forget to take that bottle of water to the gym with you, or on a run!
5. Biting your nails
Nail biting might seem like a pretty innocent habit, however, over time you could be doing your teeth some serious harm. Not only can you cause tooth enamel to splinter but the constant repetition of this behaviour can even cause teeth to move. Try chewing on gum or sucking on mints when the urge strikes.. sugar free o course!
6. Don’t use your teeth as tools
If you’re struggling to get a tag off clothing or trying to open something tricky (beer bottle anyone!), using your teeth is never a good idea. This type behaviour can lead to increased tooth wear and potentially lead to chips or cracks.
7. Not brushing correctly
Teeth need to be brushed for at least two minutes and this needs to be done daily – morning and night.
A soft-bristled toothbrush with a small head and a flexible neck should be used. The advantage of these toothbrushes is that they remove the plaque and debris from your teeth without damaging your teeth and gums.