• August 5, 2015
causes of tooth decay

There are few things more important to optimum health than eating well. Lots of us are fans of food, and that means sugary snacks too. You’ve probably been told countless times how sugar is bad for your teeth and is one of the main causes of tooth decay. And if you’re like most people, you brush daily to help avoid tooth decay, but is it enough?

We’re going to talk today about secret tooth killers – those things you do (or don’t do) that are causing your smile harm. We always want the results of your checkups to be good ones, so by knowing what could be ruining your smile you’ll be that much more prepared to take care of it!

Secret #1: Home Care Habits

Surely just brushing your teeth is better than nothing, right? Not quite! In reality, your brushing habits could be causing extra damage! Many people use a toothbrush that is far too stiff, and it isn’t uncommon to hear that patients brush quite hard either! Both of these problems can cause bad damage to your teeth and gums!

Here are some teeth care tips at home you should always follow. Be sure that you use a soft bristled toothbrush and never brush too hard! The best habit to get into when brushing is to gently sweep down from your teeth while the brush is at a 45 degree angle. This will allow the brush to pull plaque away from your gum-line, as well as not forcing bristles up against it!

Flossing is important to get in the habit of doing once a day in order to get into those small crevices that brushing can’t! Plaque can build up between your teeth, allowing bacteria to produce acid unchecked. This can lead to tooth decay and cavities that is also hard to find and identify early!

Secret #2: Salty Foods

Yes, sugar is bad for your teeth, so definitely limit those sweets! What might surprise you is to learn that there are several salty foods bad for teeth! Pretzels, chips, crackers, white bread, and a whole list of carb-filled snacks made of white flour can destroy your enamel!

The culprit that these foods all share is refined carbohydrates. These carbs break down into sugar, leaving your teeth just ripe with the sweet stuff that plaque bacteria loves to feast on. And when bacteria gets that snack it produces acids that eat away at tooth enamel, causing decay and cavities!

It’s important to know when you’re eating snacks that you think are okay for your teeth but secretly aren’t – the next time you scarf down some salty, starchy snacks make sure to keep a glass of water close at hand!

Secret #3: Teeth Aren’t Tools!

Are you the kind of person that, when scissors aren’t handy, just uses their teeth? That can be devastating for your oral health! The same thing applies to people who chew their nails – it’s all about the force exerted on your teeth! When you bite down on something that is hard, whether it’s as thin as a piece of tape or as thick as a nail, it’ll eventually break. Nail biting tooth wear is caused by teeth slamming together with an incredibly high amount of force! The distance might not seem like much, but to your teeth it can be plenty enough to do damage!

Your enamel is strong, but it’s meant to handle certain kinds of force: soft foods, chewy things, and even some crunchy nuts. The key to all of these foods being okay to eat is that they tend to give way a bit more easily than the hard, rigid materials you may find yourself biting.

Secret $4: Bottled Water

It’s a pretty common practice to fluoridate water supplies which is one of the major reasons why cavity rates have dropped since the 1950s! Reaching for a glass of water from the tap isn’t just incredibly cheap, it’s also good for your teeth!

The growing popularity of bottled water raises several concerns, and for the sake of this list it’s that there isn’t enough fluoride in it! Bottled water commonly has far less fluoride than recommended thanks to additional filtration and treatment that occurs prior to bottling.

Next time you need a drink of water skip the prepackaged stuff and go for a glass from the sink!

Hopefully you learned a bit about these habits that could be ruining your teeth. We’re going to follow this post up next week with a discussion of good oral health habits. We want you to learn not just what to stop, but also what to start!

If you have any additional questions or want to get a proactive dental appointment set up, call our Shorewood office today! You can reach us by phone at 815-725-5991 and you can also request an appointment using our online form. We look forward to seeing you soon!