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Last week, we went over 10 bad habits for the dental health. If you haven’t read it, click here to check out the article. Now, we’ll discuss 6 more common dental health mistakes suggested by two New York City pros: Alice Lee, DDS, an assistant professor in the Department of Dentistry for Montefiore Health System, and Alison Newgard, DDS, an assistant professor of clinical dentistry at Columbia University College of Dentistry.
1. Getting addicted to juicing
Everyone loves juicing these days, whether it’s homemade juice or a fancy bottled variety. But while they might be packed with vitamins and other nutrients, fresh juices also bathe your mouth in everything from corrosive acids (in ingredients like lemon juice) to megadoses of sugar (the high levels of fructose in many green juices aren’t doing your teeth any favours). If you can’t bid farewell to your brightly-bottled health promises, do your best to minimize their damage to your choppers: rinse with water after acidic juices, and be sure to brush your teeth after those fruity sugar bombs.
2. Hanging on to that tongue or lip piercing
Self-expression is well and good, but when it takes the form of a tongue barbell or lip ring, it can come at a high price. “I’ve treated patients who fractured or chipped their teeth from biting on their piercings,” Dr. Lee says. “I’ve also had patients with gum recession and other soft-tissue injuries from their piercing rubbing against tender areas of the mouth.” Had your piercing for ages with no trouble, you say? Just wait: Studies have shown that your risk of dental problems from tongue and lip piercings gets worse the longer you have them.
3. Reaching for a toothpick
While those old-school sticks can certainly come in handy when food gets stuck between your teeth at a restaurant on date night (or when a fictional tough guy needs to look cool), the truth is that wooden toothpicks are poor substitutes for dental floss: They can splinter and break, and using them too aggressively can cause damage to sensitive gum tissue. Take a pick if you’re in dire need (or if you’re in an action movie), but know that they’re far better suited to an hors d’oeuvres tray than they are to your mouth.
4. Going overboard with bleach
This one should be a no-brainer: “Overbleaching teeth can lead to weakened enamel and teeth sensitivity,” says Dr. Lee. Ironically, enamel loss exposes the layer of dentin beneath it, making your teeth look dingy rather than pearly. Little is known about the long-term effects of whitening, but the bottom line is that you should consult your dentist—that is, the professional who knows your teeth and is best equipped to suggest an in-office treatment or over-the-counter product that’s right for you—and use the whitener they recommend in moderation.
5. Skimping on calcium and vitamin D
Minerals and vitamins are building blocks for bones and teeth, of course, but they’re also key to maintaining their strength and density as we age—and these two are bones’ strongest allies. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, adult women need 1,000-1,200 milligrams of calcium and 400-1,000 IU (international units) of vitamin D per day from food, sunlight (for vitamin D) and supplements. Consult your GP on your nutrient needs and be sure your teeth and bones are getting the support they need.
6. Drinking soda (yes, even the diet stuff)
Isn’t it enough to kick sugar to the curb and indulge in sodas without it? We won’t go so far as to say it’s as bad for your teeth as meth addiction, as a report (on one subject who drank two liters of soda per day and already had poor dental hygiene) did in 2013. But you should know that all acidic drinks—regular sodas, diet sodas, even sports drinks, according to a 2008 study—can cause tooth erosion. Does that mean giving them up once and for all? Indulging ourselves doesn’t always mean doing what’s best for your teeth, of course, but knowing how habits affect your body is the first step in being happy and healthy. We’ll raise a glass of (fluoridated) tap water to that.
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We at Family Care Dental Clinic offer our clients a wide range of comprehensive dental services for the whole family. Our dentists can help everyone in your family understand the importance of proper oral hygiene over time and the positive effects it has on your health. At Family Care Dental Clinic, we treat our clients to a soothing environment where they can receive quality dental care no matter what their needs are. Call (604) 987-3545 or write us at email@example.com to schedule an appointment with a member of our excellent team!