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10 Foods and Habits You Should Avoid to Protect Your Dental Health

10 Foods and Habits You Should Avoid to Protect Your Dental Health

Evolution has truly favored the sharks: If a shark loses a tooth, it just replaces it with a new one — tens of thousands of times in an average shark’s lifetime. Humans aren’t so lucky. Most people have to make do with 32 adult teeth — and that means you need to do everything you can to protect them.

The team at 2K Dental offers an array of services to help patients in Cleveland, Akron, and Parma, Ohio, maintain their healthy smiles, including emergency dentistry when an urgent problem arises. Still, we know visiting the dentist is just part of the oral health equation. Patients’ personal oral habits play a major role, too.

To help people do their part in maintaining healthy teeth and gums, the 2K Dental team aims to educate patients about steps they can take to improve their oral health. Here, we list 10 of the most common foods and habits that can damage beautiful smiles.

1. Smoking

Smoking isn’t just bad for your heart and lungs. It’s a major cause of gum disease, tooth loss, and oral cancer. Quitting smoking is one of the most important things you can do for your oral health and your overall wellness, too.

2. Skipping your bedtime brushing

Brushing twice a day is essential, and it’s also important to schedule one of those brushing sessions right before bed. If you skip brushing before turning in for the night, you give bacteria hours to penetrate tooth surfaces or invade gum tissue. You don’t produce as much saliva while you sleep, either, which means your mouth’s natural defenses are lower than normal.

3. Indulging in sports drinks

Sports drinks are typically acidic and contain sugars. Teamed up, acids and sugars make it a lot easier for bacteria to grow and to penetrate the tooth surface, where they can cause cavities.

4. Choosing chewy snacks

While dried fruit is certainly high in nutrients, it’s chewy and sticky. This means it’s more likely to leave behind residues that can lead to tooth decay or gum disease.

5. Eating starchy foods

Starches break down into sugars, a major culprit behind tooth decay. Plus, the stickiness of some starches — potato chips, for example — makes it easier for residue to cling to teeth, where they combine with bacteria to form sticky plaque and hard tartar deposits.

6. Chewing on ice

Summer is a time for icy beverages, but don’t be tempted to chew on leftover ice cubes. Ice is hard, and chewing on it can damage your teeth or your dental restorations, like veneers, crowns, or bridges.

7. Using your teeth as tools

Most people are tempted at some point to use their teeth to open a package or pry off a lid. But doing so increases the risk that you’ll chip a tooth, damage your gums, or cause other types of damage that require prompt repair.

8. Biting your nails

Fingernails are another hard substance that can damage your teeth. Continually putting pressure on your tooth surfaces can damage the enamel, making teeth more prone to cracks, chips, and decay. You can even scratch your gums with your nails, paving the way for an infection.

9. Brushing aggressively

Brushing twice a day for two minutes each time is the cornerstone of good oral health. Always use a soft-bristled toothbrush and use gentle motions, particularly at your gum line. Avoid vigorous scrubbing, which can wear down your teeth’s protective enamel. 

10. Grazing

An unflattering nickname for continual snacking, grazing not only can keep your teeth bathed in sugars and starches, but it’s a common cause of unwanted weight gain, too. If you snack when you’re bored or stressed, look for other ways to manage those feelings.

Enjoy a lifetime of healthy smiles

Good oral health takes a little effort, but the rewards are well worth it. The key to avoiding oral health problems is to fine-tune your habits to help prevent damage and to have routine teeth cleanings and checkups, so if a problem does occur, it’s caught early.

If it’s been awhile since your last dental visit or if you’re interested in cosmetic dentistry to make your smile really shine, now is the perfect time to schedule an appointment. Call the 2K Dental office near you, or use our online tool to schedule a visit today.

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