YOU’VE LIKELY MADE resolutions to change bad habits when it comes to diet and exercise, but have you made resolutions to break bad habits when it comes to your teeth? Keeping your mouth and teeth healthy should be as important as keeping the rest of your body healthy. Damage to your teeth can be painful, embarrassing, and costly to correct. Stop damage in its tracks by resolving to stop the following bad dental habits:
1. NOT BRUSHING, FLOSSING, OR RINSING ENOUGH. This is probably the biggest bad habit that most people are guilty of. Not taking proper care — neglecting to brush at least twice a day, floss daily, and rinse with antiseptic once to twice a day — can lead to tooth decay, gum disease, damage, and tooth loss.
2. USING YOUR TEETH AS TOOLS. Using your teeth to rip open bags, bend metal, or do anything other than chewing food can cause chips, cracks, and other damage. Keep tweezers, scissors or pliers handy to handle the work.
3. GRINDING YOUR TEETH. Grinding your teeth — whether from stress during the day or during sleep at night — does damage to your teeth over time. To keep from wearing your teeth down, get a mouth guard to wear at night from your dentist and find ways to relax and limit stress during the day.
4. USING A HARD-BRISTLED TOOTHBRUSH. Using a toothbrush with bristles that are too hard can irritate gums and wear down the tooth’s root covering, especially in older adults. Choose a toothbrush with softer bristles.
5. EATING AND DRINKING THE WRONG THINGS. Many foods and drinks are bad for your teeth. Sugary, acidic sodas increase tooth decay and cavities. Similarly, crunching on hard foods like ice, popcorn kernels, fruit pits and nut shells can do damage to your teeth as well.
This column is sponsored by Midtown Dental.
column by DR. WILLIAM NERESTANT
BIO: Dr. William Nerestant received his Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree from the University of Detroit/ Mercy School of Dentistry in Michigan. After serving and being recognized for his meritorious service in the Air Force as an officer in the Dental Corps, he currently serves patients at Midtown Dental in Lakeland. For more information, visit mymidtowndental.com or call (863) 226-0987.