Everybody knows that brushing your teeth is an important part of maintaining good oral and general health, but there are still a few daily habits that we commonly engage in which can have serious negative impact on our teeth.
- Brushing too hard
Brushing might be an essential step in oral health care but if you are brushing too hard, you may be doing almost as much harm as you are good! The enamel surface of your teeth is important in preventing stains and tooth decay, but it can be easily damaged by applying too much force when brushing. It can also be bad for sensitive gum tissues which can become irritated and may recede or become prone to infection.
- Using the wrong toothbrush and/or toothpaste
All patients should be using soft or, at most, medium toothbrushes for brushing. Harder toothbrushes can increase the risk of damaging tooth enamel or irritating sensitive gums. Similarly, using a toothbrush containing baking soda may be great for removing old stains, but it can actually be quite harsh on your enamel, increasing the chances of future stains.
- Bad brushing technique
Tooth enamel is made up of tightly packed, glass-like rods that extend outwards from the surface of the tooth. Because these structures are sensitive to lateral motion, it is always recommended to brush in small, gentle circles instead of side-to-side. This prevents damaging the structure, preserving tooth enamel.
- Eating richly coloured foods
Although foods like blackberries, blueberries and strawberries are great for your overall health, they can unfortunately do a number to your oral health. Not brushing after eating these enamel-staining foods can lead to permanently discoloured teeth.
- Not brushing for long enough
Most people spend far too little time brushing their teeth each day. While experts recommend brushing for 2-3 minutes per session, on average patients are not reaching anywhere near those numbers. Next time your brush your teeth, use an egg timer or stopwatch to see how long you typically brush for and you may be surprised.
- Drinking coffee
As much as you might feel like you need your morning pick-me-up, there is at least one part of your body that isn’t thanking you for it. Drinking acidic, dark beverages like coffee can be a significant cause of staining to the teeth.
If the warnings on your pack of cigarettes are becoming nothing more than background noise, let this be a reminder that smoking or using tobacco products is a significant cause of oral health problems. For the healthiest and longest-lasting smile, ditch the tobacco!