Dental health in the United States isn’t great. Missing teeth is a very common issue, but not nearly as prevalent as tooth decay. Far more people have cavities than don’t. But it doesn’t have to be that way!
At Sargon Dental, in Encino, California, the West Hollywood neighborhood of Los Angeles, and Pleasant Grove, Utah, our staff and team of talented dentists want to encourage you to practice excellent dental hygiene and get regular care. Those two simple steps can prevent many common oral health issues.
Along with common-sense preventive care, we want to help you identify and overcome some widespread bad habits that cause problems for your teeth.
Not keeping your teeth clean
One of the most common reasons people experience tooth decay comes down to something very simple: not keeping your teeth as clean as you should. The best way to take care of your teeth involves:
- Rinsing after meals
- Brushing twice a day
- Flossing once a day
If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times: You should brush your teeth thoroughly at least twice a day and floss at least once. Unfortunately, many people don’t floss, either because they feel like it’s too time-consuming, too much of a hassle, or they don’t like how it feels.
Flossing is the best way to remove buildup from bits of food that get trapped between your teeth, leading to plaque buildup. The plaque serves as nourishment for harmful bacteria. That bacteria erodes your teeth and eventually leads to decay.
If you hate flossing, we recommend you try a water flosser system. These powerful devices shoot jets of water in between your teeth to dislodge trapped debris.
Brushing too hard
Often, when people know they should be flossing but don’t, they try to make up for it by brushing extra hard. Or, maybe you just really want to make sure you’re doing a good job. But brushing too hard is a very bad habit, especially if you use a brush with stiff bristles.
Instead, we encourage you to use a soft-bristled brush in a gentle, circular motion. Brushing carefully and gently can protect the enamel on your teeth, which protects you from the harmful bacteria that lead to tooth decay.
Chewing or biting your nails can chip your teeth. Plus, nail biting is bad for your jaw. If life is stressful, try some deep breathing exercises! Treating yourself to a nice manicure might also help you stop biting your nails.
Grinding your teeth and clenching your jaw
If you have frequent aches in your jaw, it could be due to grinding or clenching. Many folks do this when they feel stressed without even realizing it. Both habits can wear down your teeth.
Often, teeth grinding happens at night, while you’re asleep. If you’ve had unexplained headaches or you notice your jaw hurts in the morning, come in and talk with us. Your dentist can see signs of grinding, and we can fit you with a night guard to protect your teeth.
Do you chomp on ice? This is quite dangerous for your teeth. You’re risking breaking or chipping a tooth every time you do it.
Not protecting your mouth when you play sports
If you play sports, use the proper gear. If a mouth guard is recommended, wear one. We can help you understand which options are best for your mouth and your sport.
Eating hard candy
If you feel hard candy is a good alternative to chocolate, we urge you to reconsider. If you eat it slowly, hard candy coats your teeth in sugar, and that encourages tooth decay. If you chew hard candy, you risk breaking or chipping your teeth just as if you're eating ice!
These are just a few tips based on some common bad habits we see. If you have questions about caring for your teeth, or if it’s time for your routine exam, we would love to see you! Schedule an appointment today by phone or online at our Sargon Dental location most convenient for you.