7 Surprising Ways You're Ruining Your Teeth

Would you be surprised to find out that numerous daily activities are surreptitiously ruining your teeth? Chances are some of your favourite foods or lifestyle habits may be causing you more dental grief than you even realised. Check out the top culprits and nip these bad habits in the bud before you end up causing extensive damage to your teeth.

Over-Whitening Your Teeth

Yes, believe it or not, you can actually over-whiten your precious teeth. Everyone desires a brilliant smile; however, continuously exposing your enamel to the bleaching process is actually saturating your teeth with a mild acid. This process can eventually erode the mineral content of your teeth 

Within time, the enamel breaks down and becomes porous. Painful sensitivity issues can result. Take it easy on the whitening kits! The bleaching kits done at the dentist office are much more intense than what you can buy at the local drug store.

Brushing Your Teeth Super Hard

Try to avoid “hard” bristle toothbrushes if possible and stick to softer choices. Regardless of what kind of toothbrush you prefer, brushing too hard can disintegrate your enamel and lead to gum recession. Tooth sensitivity can occur as a result as well. Be sure to brush in a circular motion and avoid side to side scrubbing.

Acidic Foods and Drinks In Moderation

You are not alone if you enjoy citrus fruits and juices or wine. The worst culprits include: 

  • sports drinks
  • lemons and limes
  • diet soda
  • sour gummies (candy)
  • red and white wine
  • orange juice
  • grapefruit

The issue is that enjoying these foods on a regular basis without brushing afterwards can lead to your enamel becoming worn away. This is a huge concern since the amount of enamel you have is all you get…it does not regenerate once lost. This protective shell is vital for the overall health of your teeth.

Nerves underneath can become exposed over time and sensitivity from extreme hot or cold can turn into a painful issue. If the above mentioned treats are too much to cut out of your diet, consider enjoying them with a piece of cheese or a glass of water to help neutralise the pH. Train yourself to drink through a straw in order to minimise swishing acidic drinks throughout your mouth.

Avoid Abrasive Toothpaste

Read your toothpaste labels as diligently as you read your food labels. Choosing toothpaste that is excessively abrasive will only cause you discomfort in the long run. The US Food and Drug Association recommend checking the RDA or “relative dentin abrasion” scale of your toothpaste. Anything that scores over 100 is deemed to be abrasive, higher than 150 is “highly abrasive” and nothing over 200 is recommended. Most toothpastes with baking soda or peroxide are going to be too much.

Your Teeth Are Meant For Chewing Food

Teeth were not designed to twist open nail polish bottles, tear open toy packaging, consistently crunch ice or help you in any instance where a pair of pliers would be warranted. These infrequent “opening” episodes can cause micro-fractures to occur which may not become visible for decades. Excessive wear and tear can cause fillings to break and fillings to become dislodged. 

Inconsistent Flossing and Brushing

We all know that infrequent brushing and flossing can lead to cavities forming. This can increase the potential of infections and jaw issues if the bacterium spreads. A good rule of thumb is to brush and floss after every meal. If you are at work or on the road a lot, consider keeping some dental floss and a spare toothbrush in your desk, purse, or car so that you have your dental hygiene items on hand.

As delicious as it can be to enjoy a cold beer with your hot meal, you could be unknowingly sabotaging the integrity of your teeth. Hot food causes your enamel to expand. If you immediately chase this hot, tasty morsel with an icy cold drink, you could cause the enamel to contract. 

This consistent behaviour may lead to a hair-thin, vertical crack within your enamel, known in the field as a “craze line.” This may predispose to staining and breaks. Try to eat hot foods such as pizza with a fork and knife instead of biting directly into them. Alternatively, you could let the food cool down considerably prior to eating.

Taking time to re-evaluate if you are doing any of the aforementioned "no-no's" on a regular basis will help you become proactive in maintaining positive oral health. It can take some time to change lifelong habits; however, becoming aware is the first step.