7 Lifestyle Factors That Can Affect Your Oral Health
Habits and lifestyle factors can distract us from taking care of our oral health. At the end of the day, we all want a stunning and healthy smile. Sometimes it’s just hard to know what’s the truth with so much informing flying around. Don’t let it overwhelm you! We are going to set the record straight. In this blog, we are going through common habits that are bad for your teeth and gums.
Grinding and clenching your teeth, or bruxism happens when we are stressed or anxious. Most of the time we aren’t even conscious we are doing it! Most will grind their teeth in their sleep. How can you tell if you’re grinding your teeth in your sleep? Waking up with a headache and a stiff, sore jaw are the classic signs you are grinding your teeth during the night. Over time it will wear the enamel causing cracks, difficulty chewing and, in extreme cases, chronic pain.
To stop yourself from grinding your teeth at night your dentist can mould you a mouth guard to wear while you sleep. You will also need to reduce your stress levels by talking to your doctor or seeing a therapist.
Chewing ice cubes
Chewing ice cubes is great during the sweltering Aussie summer, but it is horrible for your teeth. Biting down on an ice cube can cause your teeth to chip, crack or break. Next time you need to cool down on a hot day you can preserve your healthy smile by sucking on ice cubes instead of crunching them.
This habit mostly applies to children who are starting to get their permanent teeth. Thumb sucking may seem harmless enough but when it is excessive, and not stopped early enough, it can change the structure of the jaw and teeth. These changes could lead to a misalignment that can cause issues with annunciation and chewing. If you suspect that thumb sucking if causing you or your child issues then you can talk to us about getting orthodontic treatment to reserve the damage.
Acidic and sugary foods
As amazing as it tastes, we all know that too much junk food will rot your teeth Eating too much acidic and sugary foods will weaken and erode your enamel. Without our enamel, your teeth can become sensitive and unprotected from decay. Moderation and dental care is key to enjoying food and staying healthy. Do you think you’re consuming too many lollies, cakes and soda? Then cut down. The same is for acidic foods like citrus, coffee and vinegar. These foods are addictive so it may seem hard to avoid them. In the long r,un you will be happier and healthier.
This one is more about not developing a habit of taking care of yourself. It’s hard enough having acid reflux but when your teeth are exposed to too much acid then the enamel will start to wear. So avoid triggering foods no matter how hard it is. You can prevent erosion by neutralising the acid with a bi-carb soda solution. It is not a good idea to immediately brush your teeth right after throwing up. You should wait for at least an hour because it will only wear away the enamel more.
If you’re brushing your teeth too much, too hard and too long you’ll need to cut down. Ideally, you should be brushing for around two minutes around two to three times a day. If you clean your teeth straight after a meal you are damaging your teeth, so wait an hour for your saliva to neutralise the acids before brushing. If your toothbrush is too hard or you brush too vigorously you will damage your gums by eroding them. Over time it can cause sensitivity, cavities and long-term pain. If you’re worried about over brushing you can set a timer on your phone or some electric toothbrushes come with a timer.
Everybody knows smoking can cause serious damage to your throat and lungs. Needless to say, smoking also has a severe effect on your oral health as it is linked to gum diseases and oral cancer. Over time, the nicotine in cigarettes dulls and yellows your teeth. Quitting can feel like an impossible hurdle and if you are struggling it might be worth looking into smoking cessation medication and services. Medicare B also covers some of these treatments if you are concerned about the financial burden. So talk to your doctor about what is best for you.
Are you concerned that your habits are affecting the health of your smile? Eden Rise Dental offers a kind and judgement-free check-ups where we start to restore your oral health. Our friendly staff will be happy to schedule an appointment for you – simply call (03) 9702 6111.