October 10, 2016
You know that, when you’re a parent, you have many jobs and responsibilities. An important one is to help your whole family (kids, spouse, and sometimes even parents) stay healthy. That’s why you worry about nutrition, try to avoid fast food, and so on. You’re also responsible for your family’s dental health. You know to encourage your family to skip sugary soda and brush regularly. That’s also why you take your family to our dentist in Kansas City, MO for regular dental cleanings and dental exams.
Knowing More About Dental Health
Yet you can only help with what you know. There are unexpected ways your family could be hurting their teeth and gums. Here are several things you should watch out for.
1. Hard-bristled toothbrushes: The harder the bristles, the better the toothbrush keeps your teeth clean, right? Not so much. First, toothbrushes with soft bristles will get your teeth and gums as clean as ones with hard bristles. You’re not gaining any benefit with the harder bristles. However, some bristles are so hard that they can damage your tooth enamel. The damage is minor, but don’t forget that you’re brushing your teeth several times a day. That damage adds up eventually. That’s why you should stick with soft-bristled toothbrushes for your whole family.
2. Brushing right after eating acidic foods like tomato sauce or diet soda: Everybody knows how sugar is bad for your dental health. Not everyone understands that acid can hurt your teeth too. The acid in foods like tomato sauce, coffee, and diet soda can corrode and weaken your enamel. You might think brushing will get rid of the acid, but it can actually push the acid into the enamel. Brushing right after eating acidic foods will cause more damage. Instead, rinse your mouth with plain water before brushing. That will help wash away the acid on your enamel.
3. The 10-second brush-n-floss: This is usually a problem with young kids, but adults sometimes do this too. You need to brush and floss your teeth regularly. Both help get rid of tiny particles of food and drink in your mouth. Harmful bacteria need those to survive, so this can help reduce your chances of cavities and gum disease. However, brushing and flossing take time to be effective. If you only spend around 10 seconds brushing and flossing, you’re not really doing either. Make sure your family knows to take their time and be thorough.
4. Holding and opening things with teeth: How many times have you held something in your teeth? Too many people use their teeth to chew hard objects like pencils, carry things when their hands are full, or even tear open bags and packaging. Your teeth were not designed for any of that. Your teeth could easily slip when doing so, crashing against each other really hard. This can damage your teeth or any restorations like dental bridges. Your family can stay safer by using your teeth only for what they’re designed to do.
5. Chewing ice: Some people love to chew on ice. Be it cubed or crushed, it feels nice and cool to do so. However, ice in any form is really hard. When you bite down on ice, it can go from solid to pieces in a second. Since it takes so much pressure to crack ice, you can easily end up biting down on it too hard or smashing your teeth together too hard. As with using your teeth to open packages or chew pencils, this can damage your enamel or dental work such as dental bridges or dental crowns.
6. Drinking fruit juice or diet soda all the time: Regular soda is full of sugar, so you probably already know to limit how much your family drinks. But diet soda isn’t much better. To give it a tangy flavor, manufacturers put a lot of acid in diet soda. That much acid can corrode your teeth and weaken the enamel. You may think fruit juice is a great alternative. While it can be full of vitamins, it’s also full of sugar. Even the juices without added sweeteners can pack a lot of sugar. Try to get your family to drink more water and milk instead.
7. Choosing a piercing with one end in the mouth: These days, piercings are more popular than ever. Teenagers love to rebel, so many go with facial piercings. It’s hard to ignore a pierced lip or tongue, which is part of the point. However, any piercing with one end sticking in the mouth (such as lip and cheek piercings) can hurt your teeth. The metal can easily bang up against your teeth. This scrapes away a tiny bit of enamel. You won’t notice anything at first, but given time, you can weaken your teeth. To avoid needing dental crowns so soon, skip the facial piercings.
If you have any questions about how to help your family have great smiles, call us at 816-399-5539.