About 40 million Americans are missing all of their teeth and nearly 180 million are missing at least one tooth. These huge numbers don’t even take tooth decay into account — 92% of adults and 42% of kids ages 2-11 have at least one cavity.
These are startling numbers, but the good news is that a little proactive care can go a long way toward preserving your smile.
At AnnMarie Olson, DDS in Austin, Texas, our expert team is invested in your oral health, and we know that taking a proactive approach is the best way to safeguard your teeth. That’s why we’ve identified a few bad habits that may be ruining your teeth and offer tips to correct them.
Poor dental hygiene
The most obvious bad habit is you might not be practicing good dental hygiene. To best take care of your teeth:
- Floss once a day
- Brush twice a day
- Rinse after meals
While rinsing and brushing may not pose too terrible a burden, many people forgo flossing because it seems like a hassle.
However, flossing is a crucial component to your oral health. It removes food debris and bacteria that get stuck between your teeth, where they stay and form plaque. If plaque is allowed to set up shop, it gradually erodes your teeth.
If you really dislike flossing, consider using one of the water flosser systems that shoot powerful but gentle jets of water between your teeth to dislodge debris.
Part of cleaning your teeth properly is brushing your teeth gently. Too often, people brush their teeth forcefully with bristles that are too stiff.
Instead, treat your gums to a massage. Brush your teeth softly, in circular motions on the surface, and use only soft-bristled toothbrushes to preserve your protective tooth enamel.
Life can be stressful, but try not to let that stress impact your teeth. Your fingernails are hard, and you face the risk of chipping your teeth when you bite or chew on them. Nail-biting can also place unnecessary stress on your jaw.
Grinding or clenching
Grinding or clenching your teeth can also be attributed to stress. And like nail-biting, grinding or clenching is hard on your teeth and jaws.
Night grinding, in particular, wears down your teeth. If you grind or clench your teeth, we urge you to schedule a visit with us so we can discuss night guard options.
Chewing on ice
If you enjoy chomping on ice cubes, understand that ice is strong enough to break or chip your teeth. Chew gum instead; gum promotes saliva that helps wash away bacteria from your mouth.
Competing without mouthguard
If you play a sport where getting hit in the mouth is a risk, you should protect your teeth with a mouthguard. A custom sports guard can shield your teeth from whatever comes their way.
There are plenty of other tips we're happy to share with you, but these should give you a great start in protecting your smile and oral health. For all of your dental needs, contact our office to request an appointment.