When thinking about care for your teeth and oral health in general, you may have heard it all before. From a young age, children are taught to brush and floss their teeth and to visit the dentist. These are the key factors to keeping oral health in check. There are however, more things we can do to ensure overall oral health. Eating right and keeping an eye out for changes in our mouths are important. But what about things we can avoid that might be undermining our oral health care? Sometimes you don’t realize how things can impact oral health in a bad way.
Snacking can affect Oral Health Care
Snacking throughout the day, or grazing is something a lot of us do. For some it’s an attempt to keep their metabolism going, for others, it’s a habit that is proving hard to break, and for many, it’s a mindless, convenient way to eat. Cutting back on snacking might help with weight loss goals, but your oral health care is another great motivation to break the habit. When you continuously snack throughout the day, especially on sugary foods and drinks, you put yourself at a higher risk for cavities. The longer sugars and food particles sit on the surface of your teeth, the longer bacteria has a chance to grow. The food and sugar attract the bacteria. The bacteria feast on the leftovers, producing acid. These acids then attack the outer shell of the teeth which can lead to many issues such as cavities and gum disease. When there is a consistent source of food and sugar provided from constant snacking, the opportunity for damage increases.
We’ve all done it; chomping on ice is a habit with a bad side effect. That satisfying crunch can do so much harm to your teeth. Dentists across the board recommend not chewing ice when it comes to tooth care. The brittle nature of ice, as well as its cold temperature, is the perfect combination for tooth fractures or injury. Ice can cause breaks in tooth enamel that can be microscopic or larger. Both can lead to dental problems over time. Enamel is there to protect teeth and cannot be rebuilt. Resisting the urge to chew ice is a good practice for overall oral health.
Caring for your teeth: Habits that can help
These two simple habits can have a big impact on tooth care and oral health. Reducing constant snacking with a healthy, balanced meal plan can help. Adding protein to meals may help you stay fuller longer. When snacking, avoid excessively sugary foods and drinks. Use a straw when sipping drinks contining sugar. This will keep sugar from landing on the surface of teeth. And washing food down with water will help rinse the surfaces of your teeth cleaning throughout the day. Cutting out ice chewing is another option for better care of your teeth. Let ice melt in your mouth or opt for a crunchy food substitute like apples or carrots to curb the desire. The most important of these recommendations you can execute to maintain the care of your teeth is to visit your dentist twice a year. Of course, brushing and flossing daily are essential. Take care of your teeth and they will keep your smile looking healthy for years to come.
This article was originally published in May 2017 and has been recently updated.