As a cosmetic dentist in Portland, Dr. Jason Bajuscak understands the risks to his patients’ oral health, and that many people inadvertently place the health of their teeth and gums at jeopardy. If you bite your nails or use your teeth as a pair of impromptu scissors, you may cause permanent damage to occur that has a lasting affect on both your appearance and long-term oral health.
Fortunately, most patients can enjoy a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums by simply remembering to brush and floss daily, scheduling regular visits with Portland dentist Dr. Jason Bajuscak, and by eating a balance diet. However, you can risk your oral health by practicing a few common, but surprisingly bad, habits.
Eating Too Much Sugar
By now you should know that eating too much sugar poses a serious risk to both your oral health and your waistline. While cupcakes and cookies may seem like the most obvious threats, even overdoing it on cough drops can increase your risk of gum disease and tooth decay.
Plaque, a sticky biofilm that thrives in the mouth, transforms the sugars we eat into acids that dissolve away tooth enamel. Over time, this erosion leads to the development of cavities, and increases your risk of gum disease. While brushing and flossing daily help to remove plaque from the surface of your teeth, cutting back on sugar can have an equally dramatic impact on your oral health.
Besides the obvious foods that contain high levels of sugar, you also need to make sure you cut back on beverages like sports drinks, artificially sweetened fruit juice and diet soda, and foods like pasta, bread and other forms of complex sugar. By eating a balanced diet, you can make sure you enjoy a lifetime of quality oral health.
Not Drinking Enough Water
Increasing the amount of water you drink not only helps cut back on the number of sodas, energy and sports drinks you consume daily, it also helps keep you hydrated, which can have a significant impact on your oral health.
Saliva acts as the doorman for your mouth, helping to usher out the unwanted characters like plaque and food particles that linger after eating. Increasing the amount of water you consume helps keep you hydrated, which in turn prevents dry mouth. So if you feel a little thirsty, guzzle a glass of water instead of sipping on soda. Your oral health will thank you.
Biting Your Nails
As a general rule, you should never put anything in your mouth you cannot eat or drink. Even a simple nervous habit like nail biting can cause serious damage to your oral health. That’s because your teeth and jaw are designed for a very specific range of motions. When nail biting, you place your jaw in a protrusive position that can result in jaw discomfort or pain. Nail biting also places additional stress on your teeth, which increases your risk of suffering from a cracked or broken tooth.
While thoroughly brushing your teeth helps to lower your risk of a range of oral health problems, overbrushing can inadvertently harm your oral health. Applying too much force to the surface of your teeth while brushing is similar to scrubbing a bathtub with steal wool. Not only will you remove any stains, you’ll also strip away at the porcelain underneath. Overbrushing leads to tooth discoloration and an increased risk of decay. To avoid this potentially costly habit, you may want to consider buying an electric toothbrush with a built-in pressure sensor that will stop the brush if too much force is applied.
Incorrect Teeth Whitening
As a cosmetic dentist in Portland, Dr. Bajuscak helps patients achieve the brighter, whiter smile they desire. While a brilliant smile can make a major difference in how you look and feel about yourself, you can damage teeth by practicing improper whitening habits. The majority of over-the-counter whitening products contain peroxide, a stringent chemical. Peroxide whitens by stripping away stains from the surface of your teeth. But the chemical can also strip away tooth enamel if overused, especially in patients who suffer from poor oral health. Before you start any whitening regimen, you should check with Dr. Bajuscak to ensure your oral health is strong enough.