Oh, the Things We Do to Our Teeth

dental careOur teeth are little enameled stalwarts, constantly fighting off bacteria and plaque trying to become tartar, all while chewing up the foods you need to survive. You’d think we’d give them some respect.

Instead, we torture them with some seriously bad behaviors and choices. Dr. Miller always wants his patients to think prevention first. To that end, here are some no-no’s when it comes to your teeth.

Sodas — In this country people are cutting down on soda consumption, but for the wrong reasons as they relate to our teeth. It’s obvious the sugars can lead to dental decay and soda contains lots of unneeded calories, but these drinks also contain phosphoric and citric acids. These are corrosives that eat away at the enamel protecting your teeth.

Chewing ice — Unlike soda, ice may be sugar-free and no-cal, but that doesn’t mean you should be munching on it like a cow chewing grass. Chewing ice can chip or crack your teeth. It also irritates the soft tissue inside the tooth, causing toothaches.

Grinding your teeth — It’s true that life can be a grind, but don’t take it out on your teeth by grinding them at night! Called bruxism, you are actually grinding your teeth down when you do this. The problem is that most people who grind don’t realize they do it, unless they awake with very sore jaws. But Dr. Miller can see the signs and get you into a mouthguard to wear at night.

Fruit juice — Look for fruit juices that are 100% juice. No Hawaiian Punch or High C, OK! Why? Because there is often as much sugar in these pseudo-juices as in soda. Plus, in certain juices, the acidity is pretty high.

Your teeth, the opener — I think we can leave this trick to John Belushi and Animal House-esque wannabes. Opening a beer bottle with your teeth is the quickest way to crack them. Put an opener on your keychain!

Bottle in the crib — Leaving a bottle with your baby at night is not only bad parenting; it’s also bad for them. The tot may fall asleep with the bottle in their mouth, bathing the teeth in sugars overnight. Feed them before bed and they will calm down.

Snack-o-rama — What’s the big deal snacking throughout the day? Well, when you eat a regular meal, your mouth understands it needs to get with saliva production to help eliminate and break down residual particles. But when you snack for brief periods, you don’t produce saliva in the same way. The lack of saliva when you eat a snack means that food bits can stay in your teeth for hours. If you need a snack, opt for something low in sugar and starch, like carrots.

Cigarette smoking — This one’s a no brainer. Cigarettes stain your teeth and lead to gum disease. As if that weren’t enough, tobacco also leads to cancer of the mouth, lips, and tongue.

OK, we didn’t mean to beat you up, but we thought you’d like to know what you’re doing to your pearly whites. Could be a good time to call Dr. Miller for your next exam, 503-640-9310.


Posted in: Dental, Dentistry

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