When it comes to proper dental care, people know about the importance of daily brushing and flossing. However, they might not be aware of how other day-to-day habits affect their dental health. If you find that you always have a small cavity or two during dental visits or if your gums aren't as healthy as they should be, its time to examine if you need to make some changes. Here are some common habits that directly affect your dental health.
Instead of eating a meal and then waiting a few hours to eat again, do you just graze throughout the day, eating a few crackers here and a piece of fruit there? Snacking an harm your dental health because your teeth never really stay clean. Ideally, you'd brush after breakfast and have a few hours of clean teeth before eating again, and then brush after dinner, allowing for several hours of cleanliness before your teeth have food on them. When you snack, however, your teeth have more constant exposure to sugars and starches that provide food for harmful bacteria. Some snacks foods are worse than others. Crackers, chips, and gummy fruit snacks are among the worse. If you must snack between meals, choose unsweetened dairy, such as cottage cheese, or a vegetable like snap peas or carrots. These are better for your teeth.
Grinding and Clenching
Do you grind or clench your teeth when angry or stressed? For some people, this is a nervous habit, and it directly affects your gum health. Gums are sensitive to pressure, and with prolonged force, they will begin to pull back from the tooth, exposing the more vulnerable tooth root. You might need to replace the habit of clenching your teeth with another habit, such as squeezing a stress ball.
Sipping Juice or Soft Drinks
Juice and soda have their place in your diet, but they should not be consumed regularly. When you do have juice or soda, consider drinking it efficiently, instead of sipping it over the course of an hour or two. Just like snacking, the constant exposure to acid and sugar damages your enamel and accelerates tooth decay. Rinse your mouth with water when you finish drinking juice or soda.
Breathing Through Your Mouth
Did you know that breathing through your mouth can increase your risk of cavities? Mouth breathing leads to dryness. Saliva is important because it keeps bacteria for resting too long on the teeth, and this process doesn't happen as effectively when your mouth is dry because of constant mouth breathing. Try to breathe through your nose and keep your mouth moist by drinking plenty of water throughout the day.
For more information, contact a local dentist.