Having a beautiful smile is important for lots of reasons. And the good news is, it's not difficult to keep your teeth healthy and your smile looking its best. Still, we all fall into bad habits from time to time - sometimes without even realizing we could be damaging our teeth. Here are five habits you should avoid to help keep your smile looking its best:
1. Using your teeth as tools. We’ve all been there: The toothpaste cap that won’t come off, the medicine bottle lid that won’t pry up no matter what we try. And if we don’t have any other option on hand, we might be tempted to use our teeth to pry, twist or otherwise perform the job of a tool to get the job done. But while teeth may be excellent tools for biting and chewing, they’re definitely not made for prying and twisting - and using them for those tasks is a good way to crack, chip or even break your teeth, plus it can destroy fillings, bridges, crowns and other restorations. Never, ever use your teeth as a miniature toolset.
2. Using a hard-bristled toothbrush. Yes, it’s absolutely essential to brush your teeth regularly. And while it may seem like a brush with hard bristles will be more effective in getting rid of sticky plaque and tartar, actually the opposite is true: Hard bristles can’t reach between and around your teeth as well as a soft-bristled brush, and over time, those hard bristles can wind up damaging your tooth surfaces and removing the protective layer of enamel - bad news for your beautiful smile. Instead, stick with a soft-bristled brush or ask the dentist for a brush recommendation.
3. Not flossing. Yes, it takes time (usually not more than a minute or two though) - and yes, getting to those back teeth can take a little work. But flossing is critically important for healthy teeth and gums, and getting into the habit of skipping flossing in favor of a mouth rinse or electric toothbrush isn’t going to work. You need to floss after meals, not only to get rid of food debris, but also to break up and remove plaque so it doesn’t cause gum disease - and eventual tooth loss. It’s a simple routine that takes a little time and practice - but it could help you keep your beautiful smile forever.
4. Using an old toothbrush. Your toothbrush bristles are designed to get in between and around teeth to remove plaque and tartar so your teeth and gums stay healthy and your breath stays fresh. Over time as you use your brush, those bristles will start to wear away - and that means your brush simply can’t do its job, no matter how good you are at your brushing routine. The solution: Get in the habit of replacing your brush (or brush head) every three to six months to keep it working its best.
5. Brushing too soon after eating or drinking foods high in acids. Some high-acid foods like tomatoes and citrus fruits can be very good for our health - but not so much for our teeth. Those acids can cling to the tooth surface and soften our tooth enamel temporarily. Brush too soon, and you can damage the protective enamel permanently. Ideally, wait 20 minutes before your brush to give the enamel time to re-harden.
Another bad habit to avoid: Skipping routine dental visits. Seeing the dentist regularly is the best way to avoid problems and keep that great-looking smile.
Call Princeton Center for Dental Aesthetics & Implants, 609-924-1414 to schedule your checkup so you can enjoy a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums.