Good Teeth Habits: Replacing Bad Habits with Good Ones
You do everything in your power to keep your teeth straight and strong; you brush and floss your teeth and visit your dentist when you can. You probably avoid sugar when you can (even though it’s okay to give into the occasional indulgence) and try to eat foods that are good for your teeth. But instead of Good Teeth Habits you have developed some bad ones.
Sometimes, though, there are hidden habits that you might not know are damaging for your teeth. The old adage what you don’t know can’t hurt you has never been more wrong – it’s hard to change bad habits and save your smile when you don’t even know what’s harming it in the first place!
To learn more about Good Teeth Habits that you might not realize are bad for your teeth, read on.
Hard Things Can Hurt
Water, even in frozen form, seems like it shouldn’t be that bad for your teeth. After all, water doesn’t have any sugars or harmful chemicals. When it comes to chewing on ice, it’s not the content but the form that damages your teeth. Chewing on anything hard has the potential to damage your vulnerable teeth, even if it’s just frozen water. Stick to the liquid form instead!
Other hard things to avoid include popcorn kernels, which are equivalent to chewing on pebbles, and hard candies. Lip and tongue piercings can be damaging as well: 14% to 40% of people with oral piercings have fractured their teeth. If you don’t have an oral piercing, think about getting a piercing in a less harmful place; if you already have an oral piercing, make sure to take extra good care of your teeth.
Citrus fruits may be great for the immune system, but they have a high acid content that has the potential to damage your enamel. And when your enamel starts to erode, decay can make its way in.
While you might not need to cut down drastically on your orange slices or juice (orange juice isn’t actually as acidic), watch out for extra sources of citrus, like the occasional lemon or lime slice in your water. Stick with straight water when you can.
There are multiple sources of acid in your diet apart from just citrus fruits, though vinegar is the most crucial ingredient in pickled foods, which can seriously damage your teeth as well.
If you’re going to eat something acidic, it’s best to do so with other foods to minimize their effect, or chew sugar-free gum containing xylitol to work on preventing cavities. And remember: stay away from sticky, sour candies at all costs!
The most common acid, though, is soda. Whether sugar-free or not, sodas are incredibly bad for your teeth because of their high acid content. Eliminating soda from your diet may be the best thing you can do for your teeth.
If you absolutely can’t set down your diet soda, make sure to drink it during mealtime, just like with other acids.
Don’t Sugar-Coat Your Caffeine
Coffee and tea aren’t necessarily bad for your teeth, especially in their most pure form. However, most people add sugar and sweetener by the spoonful before downing their caffeinated beverage of choice. If you can drink your tea or coffee without too much sugar or creamer, your teeth will thank you for it.
Coffee and tea can also stain your teeth, which can be polished off if you visit your dentist for regular cleanings. Also, remember that caffeinated beverages cause dry mouth, which in turn invites cavities to form. As a good rule of thumb, drink a glass of water when you wake up in the morning before your coffee or tea, and keep water on hand throughout the day.
Stay away from Sticky Foods
If you’ve worn braces, you already know that sticky foods had the potential to pull off your brackets and harm your tooth’s surface. But did you know that sticky foods can continue to be damaging even when your braces have been removed?
Sticky food adheres to your teeth and can be hard to get off. And when food sticks to your teeth, bacteria have more time to stick around in the sugar as well.
Avoiding sticky candy is a must: caramels and taffy are particularly big culprits. But candy isn’t the only problem: remember that dried fruits are often the stickiest fruits, and brush well after eating.
Watch Your Wine
Alcohol comes with a variety of problems: it dries out your mouth, and its high acid content can erode your enamel as well. Red wine in particular contains tannins that dry your mouth and make your teeth sticky, which means an increased level of bacteria in your mouth.
Good Teeth Habits: What Can I Do to Change?
If you’ve bought into one of these bad habits, don’t despair! It’s not too late to change: you can always reduce your soda intake, drink an extra glass of water every morning, or stop crunching on those ice cubes. You can also add several good teeth habits to start reducing the damage of bad habits too:
- Chew sugar-free gum instead of hard objects like ice or kernels. Sugar-free gum stimulates saliva production, which naturally cleans your teeth.
- Drink more water. Replace those acidic sports drinks and sodas with something naturally healthy!
- Eat more dairy. Milk and cheese are good for strong bones and strong teeth. Make sure you get the right amount of calcium every day to work towards better oral health.
- Try high-fiber foods. Most of them require a lot of chewing, which means your mouth generates a lot of saliva.
- High-fiber foods also act as a cleaning agent for your teeth: they scrub sugars off of your teeth, keeping them clean.
If you’re a victim of bad habits, decide to make the change today. Swap out bad habits for Good Teeth Habits, and you’ll be on the fast track to even better oral health today.