Every year, Over 175 million teeth are filled in the U.S. to repair damage from cavities. A blend of bacteria, sugar, and immune factors create a complex process that affects the quality of life in every age group. Did you know that researchers are uncovering innovative methods that could make traditional fillings a practice of the past? Here’s a look at what’s ahead!
You probably know that your mouth is home to one of the largest populations of bacteria in your body. While they’re an independent bunch, you can dramatically influence their effect on your health. It starts with understanding how the key bacterial players operate and your role in altering their destructive tendencies.
Your teeth and the surrounding jaw muscles present a powerhouse capable of crushing even the hardest foods to pieces. But sometimes we use our teeth in ways that push them to the limit and lead to unnecessary problems and treatment. Learn about one habit that may accelerate the breakdown of your teeth and how to read the symptoms your teeth share with you.
When you wake up in the morning, no one expects your breath to smell very good. With a few good hygiene habits, your breath is usually ready for the day. But if you’re struggling with bad breath, or you suspect it might be a problem, we have a few tips to kick this social issue to the curb. Learn more here about the real causes and how to keep your breath fresh every day.
When you consider what teeth go through, it’s amazing how well they hold up. In a warm, moist environment they undergo a barrage of forces. Bacterial toxins wash over them while acidic foods and drinks flood their mineralized surface. So should teeth wear out and eventually be removed? Or can you expect them to last a lifetime? Learn more about how you can put yourself on the right side of dental health HERE!
Teeth are essential players in digestion, central to our appearance, and even help us form our words properly. Enamel, the hardest substance in our bodies, provides a tough outer layer made of intricate crystal rods. And a solid foundation of bone and gum surround the teeth and hold them firmly in place. As resilient as teeth are, our habits can compromise our smile and leave us with damage that’s challenging to repair.
Here are 5 habits that you need to be careful to avoid:
1. Ice Chewing
We’ve all crunched on ice on a hot summer day. But chewing on a chunk of ice puts tremendous strain on the crystal structure of your teeth. The combination of hardness and extreme temperature stress enamel in a way few things do. Microfractures develop in the enamel, and they may eventually expand to form deeper cracks. Teeth with large fillings are especially susceptible, and large pieces of tooth may eventually break away. In some cases, a tooth may split in half and be impossible to save.
SOLUTION: Use ice for drinks, not as a crunchy treat.
2. Soda and Sports Drinks
You probably know that soda is loaded with sugar. A typical can delivers 9 teaspoons on average, and sugar provides an ideal energy source for the bacteria that cause cavities. But did you know many sports drinks hold just as much and often get consumed in larger quantities? To top it off, many carbonated beverages contain different types of acid that erode the mineral in your teeth. Even diet sodas can dramatically change the acidity of your mouth and weaken the surface of the teeth.
SOLUTION: Reach for cold water with a splash of lemon and use sports drinks only with strenuous activities.
3. Teeth Grinding
Stress finds many ways to express itself and gnashing of the teeth is just one of them. Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, slowly thins away enamel, chips fillings and porcelain, and stresses the gums. Worn teeth often look like sandpaper has been run across the biting surface, and replacing missing enamel often involves extensive, full-mouth dental treatment.
SOLUTION: Consider a custom-fit nightguard to save your teeth, jaw, and gums from major problems.
4. Sports without Mouthguards
An elbow to the chops happens in a split second, but the damage can be life-changing. Many athletic activities carry the risk of tooth fracture, and most participants don’t consider mouth protection. Do you know the #1 sport for mouth injuries? Basketball! Few players wear a mouthguard, which leads to unnecessary danger. Any close contact sport carries risk worth eliminating.
SOLUTION: Consider a custom athletic guard designed for your particular activity level. Multiple layers of protection can be added for maximum safety.
5. Chewing Tobacco
While smoking has declined in recent years, the use of snuff has continued to climb over the past 15 years. Nearly 50,000 people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with oral cancer every year, and many more will suffer from adverse effects of this highly addictive habit. Gum recession, bad breath, and tooth decay are just a few of the problems resulting from the nearly 3000 chemicals found in chewing tobacco.
SOLUTION: If you’re not a user, don’t start. If you’re struggling with quitting, ask us about ideas to support your effort. It’s worth it.
Most people want to enjoy a lifetime with their own teeth, but just one bad habit can undermine the best intentions. Fortunately, the Stacy L. Davis, DDS team has solutions to lower many risks, and we’re here to provide support for any lifestyle changes you’d like to make.