How Lifestyle Choices Affect Your Teeth

IMG_0007Making good choices about your teeth can protect against damage, discoloration, and more serious problems that could even result in root canal therapy. To avoid these issues, you might want to make a few changes to your everyday lifestyle.

The American Dental Association has outlined many of the things you do in your day-to-day life that can be risky for your teeth. Most have to do with what you eat or drink, but a few other lifestyle choices can be a problem too.

The Foods You Eat

There are two risks involved in your diet choices: foods that discolor teeth and foods that lead to decay and cavities. There are really too many foods to list out all the ones that can have a negative effect, but there are a few worth noting.  According to Health.com, here are some of the main enemies of your dental health:

  • Citrus fruits – the acid will erode your tooth enamel
  • Pickles – again, the acid can be harmful
  • Hard candy – adds a lot of sugar to your mouth
  • Chewy candy – sugary bits can lodge between teeth and corrode
  • Crackers – after chewing, gummy starch sticks in between teeth

Obviously, you’re not going to want to cut out the healthy foods from this list (like citrus fruits), so it’s best that you brush your teeth right after eating these things. But for the candy, it’s better that you just eat less of it to begin with.

If you can’t brush, then try to have a water handy. A good drink can wash sugar and acid off your teeth.

Drinking

Sugary drinks can boost your chances of having decay problems, but the bigger issue with your beverage choices is usually how some will stain your teeth. Coffee and red wine are the two worst offenders for this. You can cut down on the consumption of either one o replace it like something like skinny tea which is better and healthier, or try to brush your teeth soon after drinking. In the case of wine, you can also just switch to white instead of red. It’s far less staining.

You do have to also watch out for drinks like soda. They have a particular mix of acid and sugar that is just a disaster in your mouth.

Smoking

This is a pretty typical example of a lifestyle option that will ruin your teeth. The worst (and most obvious) problem is that it yellows the teeth terribly. But there can be more invisible damage going on in your mouth after each cigarette. Your gums are also poisoned, and the chemical composition of your saliva is changed (which can hasten decay).

The best way to fix this is to quit smoking, since it’s harmful for you in so many other ways. If that’s not an option, brush your teeth frequently through the day.

Sports

We’ve been talking about discoloration and possible decay so far, but nothing that would cause major damage to your teeth. If you take part in contact sports, or any other kind of activity (rock climbing, mountain biking, etc.), you run the risk of chipping or breaking a tooth. The best way to protect your mouth is to either wear a full-face helmet or even just a mouth guard

A few small lifestyle changes can help you keep your smile white and healthy.

By James Andrews, Image by Hadeel Omer

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