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6 Ways You May Be Damaging Your Teeth

In this post we’ll explore 5 surprising and 1 not so surprising habit that you’re doing and you didn’t even know was damaging your teeth and gums.

#1 Not Flossing

It’s always the elephant in the room when you go to the dentist, and you know it when your hygienist to give you ‘the look.’ We all know ‘the look,’ and the solution is simple: if you flossed regularly you wouldn’t be getting it. So now that we have that sorted, let’s all agree to floss more and move along.

#2 Brushing Too Hard

Brushing too aggressively can get you into some serious trouble when it comes to your oral health too. Let’s start with your toothbrush. If you are prone to vigorous brushing habits, the quickest fix is to use a soft bristled brush. This way you can curb the impact the bristles are making on your teeth and gums instantly.

Besides changing your brush, you might re-think how you brush. Make a circular brushing motion instead of side to side, and ease up towards the gum line. Hard brushing can cause your gums to recede, or damage them in serious cases.  After successive aggressive brushing periods there is a noticeable difference in gum line location and the gums will not return to their original form. So you may be thinking that you’re getting into every nook and cranny, but you’re hurting your oral health more than you know.

#3 Eating Acidic Foods

Did you know that fruits can strip your teeth of their natural enamel? We understand that there enormous health benefits to eating fruit, but acidic foods such as citrus fruit can harm your teeth. Fruits such as lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruits, and even berries have acid in them which can strip your teeth of their number 1 protection: their enamel.

#4 Not Using Your Teeth For Their Recommended Purpose

Another habit that is not very good for your teeth is using them as scissors, bottle openers, or even a pulverizer. Your teeth were designed to chew and shred your food, not to rip off clothing tags, pop off bottle caps, or crush hard candy. Take care of your teeth and just use some sound judgement.

#5 Eating Hot Food And Chasing It With Cold Water

This one may seem a bit surprising because it makes sense to do it, but you probably didn’t realize what could happen as a result. Let’s say you’re at home cooking your favorite hot meal, and you can’t wait before digging in. Everything is so hot that your tongue burns along with your teeth and the roof of your mouth. Naturally, the next step is to find some ice water. Now the lining of your mouth feels a bit better, but you didn’t even realize that you just damaged your teeth in a small way.

What happened was that when you put the hot food in your mouth, the heat caused the enamel on your teeth to expand. Then when you drank the water, your enamel contracted almost instantaneously. Over time and with years of normal use, this sort of thing can lead to what is known as craze lines.  These lines are tiny fractures in the outermost part of your tooth. Your tooth won’t split in half, but craze lines can turn into unsightly disasters.

#6 Excessive Teeth Whitening

Whitening your teeth too often can have severe consequences. As we spoke of previously, your enamel is there to protect your teeth, and the whitening solutions tend to break through the initial layers of plaque and stains and into your enamel. Once this barrier is broken, your teeth will become increasingly more sensitive. So beware when whitening and make sure to allow your teeth time to heal between whitenings.

For more tips about your oral health or to schedule an appointment, call us today at (314) 463-5655 or fill out the form here!

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Dr. James Maxwell

Dr. James Maxwell graduated from Allegheny College with a B.S. Degree in Biology in 1995, and the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine with a Doctor of Dental Medicine Degree in 2000. He stays abreast of developments in dentistry by following over 100 hours of continuing education courses each year, ex. Advanced Laser Dentistry courses and training at The Dawson Academy. He became the sole practitioner of Crestwood Dental Group in 2003.

Dr. Maxwell focuses on cosmetic, restorative, and preventative dentistry though he is skilled in all areas of general dentistry. A member of many professional organizations such as the American Dental Association, Missouri Dental Association, and the Greater St. Louis Dental Society, he has been nominated as a top dentist in St. Louis for five consecutive years by his peers. The list appears in St. Louis Magazine.

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