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Bad Habits That Wreck Your Teeth

Bad Habits That Wreck Your Teeth

We all know the basics when it comes to keeping your teeth healthy: brush, floss, visit the dentist twice a year. But there are habits and lifestyle choices that could be harming your dental health that will surprise you.

In this article, you will learn some of the nasty habits to avoid to protect your teeth from tooth decay and discoloration. Learn what causes teeth grinding, the best ways to keep your teeth white, and how to avoid cavities by making simple, effective changes to your daily habits.

Avoid Chewing Ice
Chewing ice is a seemingly harmless, often unconscious habit. But ice chewing can cause permanent damage to our teeth, putting small cracks in the enamel.

These cracks can grow larger over time and ultimately cause a tooth to fracture, requiring a visit to the dentist and unnecessary expense to get the cracks fixed. If you find yourself chewing ice as a habit, try opting for chilled water instead, or order your drinks without ice to resist the harmful urge to chew those cubes.

Bad Dental Habit: Sports Without a Mouth Guard

You wouldn't play football without a helmet, would you? Why play a sport without a mouth guard then? Going out on the playing field without something to protect your teeth is as important as wearing a helmet and other protective body gear.

Believe it or not, an estimated 5 million teeth are knocked out every year through sports. According to the American Dental Association, mouth guards prevent 200,000 sports-related mouth injuries every year. Those who lose teeth from rough play probably wish they had put their mouth guards in first. Wouldn't you?

Who Should Wear a Mouth Guard?

Your teeth are vulnerable to being knocked out or damaged from high impact sports such as

water polo,
mixed martial arts, and

In fact the Academy for Sports Dentistry recommends mouth guards for more than 40 different sports. A sports mouth guard helps cushion hard blows to the teeth and jaw. It has the added health benefit of protecting the soft tissues of your

cheeks, and

from being sliced by your teeth. Not only that, some believe it may offer a little shock absorption to protect you from a concussion as well.

Choosing a Mouth Guard
When it comes to mouth guards, you have four choices based on level of protection.

Medium protection: These are soft like light protection mouth guards, but they offer more protection and are more suitable to rougher activity. Athletes playing basketball, soccer, rugby, and softball could get good use out of this category of mouth guard.

Heavy protection: Like its name implies, a heavy-protection mouth guard is going to prepare your teeth for a stronger impact. Boxers and martial arts enthusiasts often use mouth guards at this level of protection.

Extra heavy protection: This is the highest level of protection offered by a mouth guard. If you play a sport with a high chance of intense collision, such as kickboxing, this is the mouth guard for you. These mouth guards are also useful when playing sports that require a stick or racquet in close quarters, such as hockey or lacrosse.

Bad Dental Habit: Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

Tired parents might be tempted to do anything to get their restless babies to sleep. Although it is tempting, avoid sending your bouncing bundle of joy to bed with a bottle in his or her mouth. That's because of a condition called baby bottle tooth decay.

What Is Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?

Bottles of milk at bedtime increase the risk of early dental decay in baby's mouth. Prolonged exposure of the sugar in milk works with mouth bacteria to break down tooth enamel and results in rampant decay.

Here are some tips to help you protect your baby's teeth to ensure a healthy upbringing:

Don't send baby to bed with a bottle unless that bottle only contains water.

Skip the sippy cup: only use regular cups and begin introducing them between ages six and eight months.

Wean your baby off the bottle by the time he or she turns 1.

As soon as you see the teeth pop up, start brushing them at least once a day.

Avoid sticky, sweet, starchy snacks that can lead to tooth decay. Instead try whole grains, cheese, plain yogurt, fruits, and vegetables.

Encourage your children to drink water instead of sugary drinks like soda, juice, and sports drinks.

Dental Danger: Tongue Piercings

Tongue piercings are a trend that can come at a hefty price in terms of cost to your health. Highly discouraged by dentists, tongue piercings can cause lots of problems to the teeth, and to the mouth overall. Here are some of the potential health hazards of tongue piercings:

They may cause teeth to chip or break, requiring dental work.
They can also rub against the gums and cause permanent gum recession, which can lead to sensitivity and even tooth loss.

The mouth has millions of bacteria. Mouth jewelry can encourage bacterial buildup, creating an overall unhealthy situation.
Repeatedly clicking the jewelry against teeth can damage teeth and fillings, and so can accidentally biting down too hard on the piercing.
Piercings can become infected. This is especially dangerous in the mouth, where a swollen tongue could cut off breathing, causing you to choke.
Some people experience allergic reactions to the metal in piercings.
Piercings can numb your tongue due to nerve damage. This is usually temporary, but it may wind up being permanent.
The piercing can interfere with dental x-rays.
In some cases, tongue piercings can cause teeth to gap by being forced between them repeatedly.

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