- »

Friday, May 6, 2011

Break Your Bad Dental Habits

You know you’re supposed to brush and floss daily, but did you know that you may have some bad dental habits? Read ahead to find out if you are committing any of the following dental sins:

• Drinking too much soda. Even if you are gulping down diet soda, all carbonated soda contains phosphoric acid, which can cause teeth erosion over time. If you have to have your daily Diet Coke (no judgment!), try sipping with a straw to limit contact with your teeth and try to brush afterward.

• Using the wrong type of toothpaste. Oftentimes, toothpastes labeled “tarter control” may be too abrasive. If your toothpaste feels gritty, it may be eroding enamel and causing receding gums. Do look out for fluoride on the list of ingredients.

• Eating things that stain—like coffee, tea, soda, soy sauce, red wine, marinara sauce, etc.—can undo teeth whitening procedures and leave you with yellowish, dull-looking teeth. And who wants that? If you spend money for a teeth whitening procedure from a qualified cosmetic dentist, make sure to avoid foods that stain.

• Using your teeth to open up packages can lead to breaks and cracks and damage to dental bonding. Also try to refrain from chewing hard candies and ice cubes.

• Ignoring problems like bleeding gums and chronic halitosis (aka bad breath). Brush and floss daily to prevent bleeding gums; drink water and remove excess bacteria with a tongue scraper to combat bad breath.

• Brushing too hard can wear down protective enamel and cause receding gums. Make gentle, circular scrubbing motions for two minutes using a soft brush. Consider using an electric brush, which may help remove more plaque than manual brushes.