If your dentist asked you what habits you thought damaged your teeth, you might mention things like eating candy or chewing gum. You’d probably be surprised that although those things can contribute to tooth decay, there are other habits that are more common among patients, and cause irreversible damage to tooth enamel.
Here are some of the common habits that patients have that can damage their teeth:
Grinding and clenching your teeth.
Tooth enamel is the hardest material in the entire human body. When teeth wear against other teeth due to chronic grinding or bruxism, the enamel can be worn down permanently. Not only does the wear present an esthetic concern, it can also damage restorations and contribute to TMJ problems. A custom mouthguard can help prevent nighttime teeth grinding.
Sucking on lemons.
Some people really love to chew or suck on lemons. Online tips that aren’t written by dental professionals even suggest using lemon to whiten your teeth. Unfortunately the pH of lemons is so low, they cause visible acid erosion to the teeth, washing out tooth enamel and making them weaker, more sensitive, and even yellow if the erosion is severe.
Chewing your fingernails.
Repeatedly chewing your fingernails on a daily basis can cause the front teeth to become prematurely worn and shorter than they should be. Sometimes hairdressers even use their teeth to open bobbypins, creating notches in their front teeth.
Drinking beverages other than water frequently throughout the day.
Water keeps teeth cleaner and delivers fluoride. Drinking juice, sweetened beverages (even diet ones), soda, and even milk frequently throughout the day causes the pH of the mouth to change, making teeth susceptible to decay the more often these are consumed.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Hamir Contractor, Kennesaw Mountain Dental Associates
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