1. Chewing on hard foods
We’re looking at you Beef jerky and pitted fruits.
2. Chewing on hard things
This includes fingernails, pencils, pen caps, and ice.
3. Grinding your teeth
If you grind your teeth, talk about it with your dentist. An appliance can protect your smile.
4. Eating too much sticky food
Gummy candy, dried fruit, and even protein bars can crack teeth.
5. Drinking anything besides water frequently
If your teeth are bathed in soda (sugared or diet), juice, coffee, or sports drinks constantly, you are asking for dental problems.
6. Playing sports without a mouthguard
Sports pose a major risk of tooth damage. Most children are required to wear a protective mouthguard on the playing field. But fewer adults wear mouthguards for recreational activities like mountain biking and skiing. The stock mouth protectors are pre-formed and ready to wear. Unfortunately, they rarely fit well. Custom-fitted mouthguards from your dentist are more comfortable than the cheap boil-and-bite type.
7. Using a hard-bristled toothbrush
A hard-bristled toothbrush can weaken teeth and cause gums to pull away. Scrub away food bits and plaque with a soft (or extra-soft) toothbrush.
8. Ignoring dry mouth
Saliva is important. This helps to rinse food particles from your mouth as well as neutralize the acids that cause plaque. It also helps clean the teeth of leftover food bits, helping to prevent plaque buildup. Constant dry mouth, or xerostomia, can lead to tooth decay. Talk to your dentist if you have a dry mouth often.
9. Using teeth as tools
Use scissors to open a string cheese or pry the lid of a medicine bottle. Use a nutcracker if you are eating unshelled nuts. A quality dental crown can cost over eight hundred dollars.
10. Ignoring bad breath
Bad breath is often associated with bacteria build-up in the mouth. It might be a symptom of accelerating cavities. Discuss it with your dentist. (Don’t be embarrassed. We treat bad breath all the time.)
11. Ignoring jaw pain
If you notice inexplicable jaw pain or notice a clicking sound, be sure to schedule an appointment with your dentist promptly! These symptoms can be signs of a serious condition called temporomandibular disorder or TMD.
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