7 Everyday Hazards for Your Teeth

Apr 07, 2014, by Dr. Becky Coats

Even if you think you’re taking care of your teeth, you may mistakenly be making mistakes that put your teeth at risk. Here are 7 common ways that people are damaging their teeth.

Brushing Too Hard

Toothbrushing is a good habit. But if you’re brushing too hard, you can be removing more than just plaque–you may be eroding your enamel and irritating your gums, resulting in receding gums.

Use only a gentle pressure when you brush. Make sure you have a soft-bristled brush, and try to brush in small circles, not vigorous back-and-forth motions. This will not just help keep you from brushing too hard, it can help you get the toothbrush onto all the curved surfaces of your teeth.

Using an Abrasive Toothpaste

Another thing that could be causing erosion of your enamel is the toothpaste you’re using. Toothpastes are designed to help remove bacterial plaque, and some of them contain very harsh abrasives to do it.

Unfortunately, if you remove too much enamel, you may suffer tooth sensitivity, cause a permanent yellowing of your teeth, and put yourself at greater risk for serious tooth damage. You can find out how abrasive your toothpaste is with this list of RDA values for many toothpastes. RDA is relative dentin abrasion, and a value of 150 or higher is considered highly abrasive.

Not Brushing and Flossing Enough

So, now that we’ve told you how not to brush, here’s a tip for how to brush. You should make sure you’re brushing twice a day every day, and that you floss every day.

Few people take the recommended 2 minutes to brush their teeth. If you’re not sure you’re brushing your teeth for long enough, try singing your ABCs once for each quarter of  your mouth. Otherwise, you can get a timer, or an electric toothbrush that has a built in timer.

Too Many Acidic Foods

Acidic foods can erode the enamel on your teeth. This causes the same problems as brushing too much or using an abrasive toothbrush: you end up with yellowy, sensitive teeth.

To avoid this, try to cut down on the amount of acidic food you eat, and especially reduce the amount of acidic beverages like soda that you dink. After you eat acidic foods, rinse your mouth out with water. Don’t brush your teeth right away–acid-softened enamel wears away faster.

Too Much Teeth Whitening

Teeth whitening is a great technology for improving the appearance of your teeth. When used properly, it’s safe for your teeth and gums and leads to attractive teeth.

However, if teeth whitening is abused, it can lead to damage. Whiteners are mildly acidic, so overusing them will actually result in permanently yellowed teeth. And if you’re using whiteners at home, you can get the whiteners on your gums, which can result in irritation, redness, and even receding gums.

Having a dentist supervise your teeth whitening means we can make sure it’s done safely to give you great results without tooth or gum injury.

Hot Foods and Cold Drinks

Our teeth are made of a natural ceramic, which is why all-ceramic restorations like porcelain veneers give us the best-looking results. This gives them a lot of great properties, but it also leads to a major weakness.

Ceramics don’t deal well with abrupt changes in temperature. If you’ve ever had a cold glass break spontaneously when you put it in hot water, you know what this means: alternating hot foods and cold drinks can cause small cracks in your teeth. These cracks can either make your teeth sensitive or hasten decay or failure of your teeth.

Using Your Teeth as Tools

Our teeth are designed to perform only a few specialized functions, such as eating, smiling, and helping with speech. Anything else beyond that would be considered a breach of warranty–if your teeth were under warranty, that is! Things like cracking nuts, breaking ice, cutting open packages, snipping threads, and opening bottles can seriously damage your teeth.

If you are guilty of any of these bad behaviors that can damage your teeth, we can help restore current damage and prevent future problems. For help taking care of your teeth, please call 817-481-6888 for an appointment at Grapevine Dental Care in Grapevine, Texas.