While their enamel is by far the hardest part of the structure, teeth can quickly succumb to neglect, misuse, and abuse.
Want to know just how vulnerable your teeth are? Read on.
And trust me, you don’t want to do the following:
1. Use your teeth as a tool.
Your teeth are not meant to be used as a bottle-opener, sledge hammer, or scissors. Chomping on ice and hard candy, popping off bottle caps, and ripping open potato chip bags with your teeth can cause cracks or breaks.
I know one dentist with a patient who used to habitually grip ropes with his teeth. Over time, the man’s natural teeth had worn to the point he needed porcelain veneers.
Use your hands and get a real tool!
2. Grind your teeth.
Some people clench or grind their teeth when bored, lifting something heavy or stressed; others do it while they sleep. Tooth-to-tooth clenching can wear down teeth and age your smile. Grinding can also pave the way for cavities, as it will erode the top layer of enamel and leaving the tooth ripe for decay.
If you find yourself grinding, talk to me about getting fitted for a specialized dental device.
3. Whiten your teeth too much with over-the-counter products.
Some people chronically whiten their teeth or, worse, they fail to follow instructions on over-the-counter products. Both of these scenarios can lead to gum irritation, tooth sensitivity, and eventually worn enamel.
Check with me before starting any teeth whitening treatment.
4. Get your tongue pierced.
When you speak, your tongue moves to make certain sounds and consequently you’re jamming the metal piercing into your teeth, which may cause them to chip. Fractured teeth may require veneers or crowns in a patient who otherwise doesn’t have other issues.
5. Smoke and use drugs.
For goodness sake, do not smoke or use drugs.
Crystal methamphetamine use has been known to cause rampant decay with blackened teeth that are on the verge of falling out. This is also called “meth mouth.”
Smoking is bad for teeth and gums. Stains make teeth more susceptible to bacteria. It’s also a factor in the development of periodontal or gum and bone disease.
Of course, when it comes to protecting your teeth from dangerous habits, these facts are just the tip of the iceberg. Talk to me about ways to keep your teeth intact.
And, above all else, brush your teeth and floss. Those are two of the best things you can do for your smile.