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Ways We Ruin Our Teeth

15 Ways to Wreck Your Teeth

WebMD has a great article entitled 15 Ways to Wreck Your Teeth. Although some of the 15 facts should be obvious to those who take an interest in maintaining good dental health, there are a few that may be surprising such as:

#1. Brush After Every Meal.

The ideal is to brush your teeth three times a day: after breakfast, lunch, and dinner. But if you do it too soon, you can scrub away tooth enamel that becomes softer in the acidic environment created in your mouth when you eat.

“Make sure you wait 30 to 60 minutes after each meal, which gives the acidity time to neutralize and the teeth time to remineralize,” says Debra Gray King, DDS, FAACD, of the Atlanta Center for Cosmetic Dentistry.

Brushing too much, too hard, or with a hard-bristle brush can also erode your enamel. Brush gently, using circular strokes and a soft brush.

–Waiting to brush is the key in this statement. As they said above, brushing too quickly can seriously damage your tooth enamel!

#8. Drink Lots of Red Wine, Coffee, or Tea.

The surface of stained teeth is like sandpaper and attracts more bacteria, which can indirectly lead to tooth decay.

As wine editor for Dish magazine, Yvonne Lorkin of Christchurch, New Zealand, tastes thousands of wines each year. At 37, she spends more on dental upkeep than people twice her age.

“The constant onslaught of acid on my enamel is an occupational hazard, I guess, as we’re swilling the wines around in our mouths rather than just swallowing,” Lorkin tells WebMD in an email interview.

Aside from cutting back, Gross recommends using a straw, when possible, so staining liquids bypass your teeth.

–Most people realize that the above foods stain your teeth, but most don’t realize that the stains attract bacteria and cause decay!

#11. Get Your Tongue Pierced.

When you speak, your tongue moves to make certain sounds and consequently “you’re jamming the metal piercing into your teeth,” Gross says. Fractured teeth may require veneers or crowns in a patient who otherwise doesn’t have other issues.

Jason Lazarus, CEO of Gadgets and Gear in Hauppauge, N.Y., got his tongue pierced and admits he played with it “all the time.” Lazarus says he was shocked when X-rays showed his front teeth “dramatically shaved and chipped” and immediately took his tongue ring out.

“I didn’t want my teeth to get worse,” Lazarus says. He has since spent $2,000 on laminates for his two front upper teeth.

–Although getting your tongue pierced might seem like a bad idea for your general oral health, most people don’t realize how badly it can damage their actual teeth!

#14. Chronically Use Some Legal Medications.

Oral contraceptives change a woman’s hormonal balance and can lead to chronic gum disease.

“Once they get off the medication, the damage is often done,” Gross says. Some over-the-counter cough medications have lots of sugar, and antihistamines can cause dry mouth, which can lead to decay since saliva protects the teeth. **If you use an oral contraceptive (or any other medications) chronically, be sure to indicate this on your health history questionnaire so Dr. Kotre and her staff can keep a close eye out for any changes that may be related to their use.**


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