Are You Ruining Your Teeth With These 16 Habits?

Are You Ruining Your Teeth With These 16 Habits?

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You may brush after every meal. You may eat healthy. You may use the most expensive toothbrush on the market. And you may be ruining your teeth. Read to see if your good habits are actually not so good…
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1. Brushing Too Much

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You might think that it’s good to brush your teeth after every meal. This is not always the case. Brushing too frequently can actually wear away the outer layer of your tooth, called the enamel. Although it is the toughest layer of skin on your body, it is thin and irreplaceable. If you wear it down, it will leave your teeth susceptible to sensitivity, pain, and decay. It can also cause your gumline to recede. Brushing once or twice each day is sufficient, and the best times are in the morning and before bed. Overbrushing is especially dangerous if you’re using the wrong toothbrush. Read on…
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2. Wrong Toothbrush

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Toothbrush bristles are made of nylon. A machine cuts the bristles to make them equal in height, but this leaves the tips of the bristles jagged and unsafe for teeth. Of course, this is a microscopic issue but it can lead to big problems. So another machine rounds the tips, making the bristles safe for brushing. Some companies do a better job of rounding than others. Using a poorly-rounded tip can damage your teeth. Ask your dentist for a recommendation or look for the American Dental Association’s (ADA) Seal of Approval on the package.
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3. Holding On Too Long

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Ideally, you should replace your toothbrush five or six times a year. If you are like most people, and instead wait to break out that new toothbrush only after your current bristles begin to splay, you’ve waited too long. And you may have worn away some of the structure of your teeth. Once the bristles start to separate, the tips become jagged, kind of like how they were before being rounded in the manufacturing process you just read about. You need to replace your brush before the bristles start to splay.
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4. Brushing Too Soon

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If you eat or drink something you know is bad for your teeth, and then you run to brush right after, you could be doing more damage than good to your teeth. Believe it or not, dentists recommend waiting at least 30 minutes to brush your teeth after eating sugary candy, drinking alcohol or eating acidic fruit. Brushing too soon after enjoying these can compound the effect of the acid that has already softened the enamel. Waiting half an hour gives your saliva time to neutralize the acidity.
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5. Chewing Smokeless Tobacco

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You might be doing your lungs a favor by choosing the smokeless type, but you’re not helping your teeth any. The sugar added to smokeless tobacco to enhance its flavor can wear down your enamel and lead to tooth decay. That’s just the beginning. Resting a pinch of chew next to your gums can damage your gums and pull them away from your teeth. This can lead to greater sensitivity. It also exposes more of the enamel of your teeth allowing more surface area to be vulnerable to decay. The tobacco can even cause the bone around the tooth to erode. If this happens, expect a visit from the tooth fairy.
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6. Chomping On Ice

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Ice is crunchy. It’s healthy. And it hydrates. But ice hammers your teeth and can wear down the protective enamel leaving your teeth more sensitive to hot and cold foods. Wearing down the enamel also leaves your teeth vulnerable to decay. Bite the wrong way and ice can crack your teeth and damage your gums. Ouch! Finally, ice can wreak havoc on veneers and fillings, sending you back to the dentist, who, by the way, would recommend sucking on ice slivers—or munching on baby carrots if you crave the crunch. If you do really desire to chew ice, it could be linked to an iron deficiency, so talk to your dentist.

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13. Smoking

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It does not matter whether you smoke cigarettes or cigars, this habit takes its toll on teeth. (I won’t even mention your other body parts or your wallet.) Tobacco in the mouth can lead to gum disease by affecting the tissue cells in the gums. This leaves smokers’ gums susceptible to periodontal disease and other infections. It also affects the bone and soft tissue in teeth and can lead to bone loss. This is irreversible, and the bone that is affected is in the jawbone that anchors the teeth. One by one, teeth might start to fall out. Unfortunately, smoking a pipe is not much better.

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14. Using Your Teeth-Opener

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