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Dental Care: 5 Habits That Can Wreck Your Teeth

We all know what happens if we don't brush our teeth well or if we grind our teeth while sleeping, but are these the only causes of damaged teeth? Surprisingly, there are other habits that can prompt cavities and other dental infections. Not known to many, an alarming percentage of Americans suffer from various dental problems. According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, 92% of adults suffer from dental caries in their permanent teeth while 26% have untreated tooth decay. While most of us are informed of the various ways we can take control of our dental health, there is still a huge percentage of people who have dental problems. If you're wondering why you still have damaged teeth despite having an established dental care routine, you might want to check if you are guilty of any of these dental blunders:

  • Munching on Ice Cubes
Many of us are guilty of chewing on ice cubes. Sometimes we can’t get enough of a cold, refreshing drink that we also chew the ice in it. Though you may not have sensitive teeth, chewing on ice cubes is still considered perilous for dental care. This is especially dangerous for teeth that have undergone dental procedures such as tooth fillings or dentures.

  • Teeth as Bottle Opener
This is a huge no-no in dental care. Your teeth are meant for chewing food and don't have the strength and durability to open bottles. They are a complex and delicate part of your body and not some kitchen tool that you can use to open or tear down various things. Other than permanently destroying your natural teeth, you could also contaminate yourself with harmful bacteria that can trigger tooth decay. You may be too lazy to get that pair of scissors or bottle opener, but this convenient shortcut may land you in a dentist's chair sooner than you think.

  • Tongue, Lip, and Cheek Piercing
Dental health shouldn’t be risked for the sake of fashion. Piercings on body parts close to your pearly whites isn't a very good idea. Stud and ear type piercings can invite infections that may affect your dental area. There are even cases of tongue and gum swelling because of bacteria brought about by an unsterile piercing. Most of the people who’ve had their lips and tongues pierced have also experienced a gradual gum recession which eventually leads to tooth loss. If oral jewelry is your preferred fashion statement or part of your culture, it’s better to talk to your dentist about it and avail piercing services only from a certified and quality jewelry maker.

  • Engaging in Sports Without Dental Protection
Many of us are fans of hockey, boxing, American football, and soccer. Some may even be playing regularly. While you're practicing these sports without a mouthguard, think about how it is like to be a sports superstar with a number of missing teeth. It's not so pretty, is it? Professional athletes know how damaging contact sports can be to their teeth, so they make sure they wear mouthguards while playing or practicing. Usually they purchase customized mouth guards which are more expensive, but will give you the perfect fit for your mouth. If you're into sports, especially those that require physical contact with other players, a working mouthguard is necessary. Just think about the money you can save by protecting your teeth from damage.

  • Over Bleaching
We all want that flawless white teeth. It's something that media entices us to have with all the years of advertisements for toothpaste and mouthwash brands. But what happens if you've gone too far with teeth whitening? To note, having "white" teeth isn't always a sign of a dental health. In fact, it is proved that excessive whitening can only make your teeth more brittle as your natural tooth enamel fades away during the bleaching process or tooth pitting. Some may even suffer from nerve damage since the primary protection of the teeth is lessened. Whitening is an accepted method of cosmetic dentistry to make your smile and teeth look better. But you need moderation and the proper recommendation from your dentist.
Our teeth aren't like other body parts. Once damaged, they don't regenerate and heal themselves, which means that you will have put up with the damaged tooth for life. Modern dentistry has provided us with adequate teeth replacement methods, but you'll never get your natural, permanent teeth back. Toothbrushing and other recommended dental care routines are the best ways to prevent severe damages in the future.