Skipping dental maintenance appointments: Going to the dentist at least twice a year (once every six months) for check-ups and cleanings ensures that your oral health is not deteriorating. A quick exam and radiographs allow the dentist to monitor the condition of the teeth, preventing any active decay from progressing into larger problems. Professional maintenance cleanings not only make your teeth squeaky clean, but also give the dentist an opportunity to reinforce daily oral hygiene practice. Remember, it’s our duty to make your health and well-being our top priority, but we can’t do our job if you don’t come see us regularly!
Not brushing AND flossing: This may seem obvious, but you would be surprised to find how many people don’t follow this simple rule. Spending 4-5 minutes per day correctly flossing and brushing your teeth could save you thousands of dollars and hours in the dental chair over the span of your life. Patient’s not flossing is a more common problem, and we can’t preach enough about how important it is to your overall health. Studies are finding more evidence linking periodontal disease to life-threatening conditions such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. It’s never too late to start good habits!
Using tobacco: One of the more obvious ways tobacco (smoke and chew) affects teeth is extrinsic staining that gives teeth yellowish-brown discoloration, adding years to a smile. Smoking leads to a decrease in blood supply to gingival tissues, impacting the oral tissues’ ability to heal. Furthermore, the carcinogens found in all tobacco products often leads to life-threading oral cancers, causing malformations of the face as a result of cancer-removing surgery and it can also lead to death.
Grinding/bruxism: Enamel is the hardest substance in the body, but it is still brittle (similar to porcelain). People who severely grind their teeth (primarily at night) can lose a significant amount of tooth structure, dramatically altering the appearance of their smile. It is not uncommon to see 50% or more of the tooth structure completely worn away in someone who severely grinds his or her teeth. This not only starts to look bad, but some of these can develop sensitivity, requiring fillings, root canals, or crowns. The best and easiest way to correct this problem is an acrylic night guard, which I worn during sleep, preventing the teeth from grinding together.
Eating lots of sugar (sucrose): Again, another obvious problem. I believe one of the biggest issues with sugar is not that people don’t realize it’s bad for you, but that people don’t realize just how much it affects your overall health. First, let me explain how sucrose consumption contributes to tooth decay. Oral bacteria feed on sucrose and release acid onto the teeth. This acid eats through the enamel, eventually invading the inside of the tooth (time for a filling). Certain aspects of the sucrose also contribute to forming a biofilm (barrier) on the tooth, providing a nutritious home for the bacteria. Another contributing factor is that most people don’t take the time to read food labels or fail to realize how sucrose is found in the majority of processed foods, therefore consuming more sugar than suspected. Please visit our page to see what Nasira, our registered dietician, has to say about sucrose in our diet.