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10 Ways to Wreck Your Teeth

rotten teeth 10 Ways to Wreck Your Teeth We all want a beautiful smile and healthy teeth, but sometimes we just don’t do right by them. Sure, brushing and flossing are good, but did you know that every day we do little (and sometimes not so little) things that are sabotaging these precious pearly whites of ours?  Here are the top everyday 10 ways we wreck our teeth – mostly without even thinking about what we’re doing:

1. Gummy candies: So we all know that sugar is bad for your teeth, but how about those sticky gummy candies? Have you noticed how long they stay on your teeth, even after you’ve finished chewing?  The longer sugar adheres to your dental enamel, the more the bacteria in your mouth are happy, happy little buggers!   Sugar produces acid which can rot your teeth. This acid is produced by the natural bacteria’s in the mouth that eat sugar which then turns into acids that will eat away at the tooth enamel which will eventually lead to the tooth decay, cavities or gingivitis.

2. Chomping on ice: Before you stick a piece of ice in your mouth, remember that each time you chomp down you risk cracking your teeth and damaging the surrounding gums. Fracture lines, chips, and cracks are common results from frequent ice chewing, and if any is large enough the victim could require a root canal or even a tooth extraction!  Even if frequent ice chewing does not result in one of these more serious effects, it will still wear down the enamel on your teeth much faster than is normal, which leads to cavities.

3. Drinking acidic beverages:  We’ve just established that sugar turns into acid which wears down enamel so diet drinks have to be the way to go because they’re sugar-free, right?  Wrong!  The phosphoric acid that’s in most diet sodas do the same thing as the acid created from sugars.  What’s also surprising is what’s considered an acidic beverage.  In addition to sodas they include sports and energy drinks, iced teas, and even wine.  To boot, the darker the color of the drink – think colas or red wine – the faster your teeth will yellow.

4. Drinking bottled water:  Next time you pick up a bottle instead of going to the tap to get your suggested eight glasses of water a day, you could be robbing yourself of some valuable fluoride.  About 60 percent of Americans have fluoride in their water supply, however, most bottled waters contain less fluoride than recommended for good oral health (it will be listed as an ingredient on the label if it is an additive).  Home filtration systems also filter much of the fluoride out.

5. Using your teeth as tools:  We’ve all done it … there’s that bag we can’t get open, or even worse, that bottle cap that just won’t budge.  You know you shouldn’t have used your teeth to open them but you did it anyway and now you’ve got a great big chip or fracture on your tooth.

6. Using a hard toothbrush:  You think, hard tooth enamel needs a hard toothbrush to clean it, right? Now way Jose.  If you use a brush with hard bristles, you run the risk instead of wearing away the enamel and causing gum erosion which will lead to tooth sensitivity.  Plaque is soft.  Use a soft toothbrush instead in a circular motion for two minutes.

7. Grinding your teeth:  Okay, so for this one you can’t blame yourself since you’re most likely only doing it in your sleep.  Tooth-to-tooth clenching can wear down teeth and make your smile look 10 to 20 years older.  Grinding also paves the way for cavities by causing pressure and fractures.  It wears away the top layer of enamel and lowers the levels of enamel beyond the dentin which can lead to decay.  Best way to prevent this?  Wear a night guard.

8. Smoking cigarettes: Smoking is bad for EVERYTHING, including your teeth and gums.  Not only does it cause your teeth to yellow, but smoking can make your gums more prone to developing gum disease with bone loss.  A surefire way to lose your teeth at an early age is to puff away.

9. Eating starchy foods: The bacteria in plaque will also break down starchy foods into acid. This acid can attack the teeth for the next 20 minutes — even longer if the food is stuck between the teeth or you snack often. You might want to floss after eating potato chips or other starchy foods that tend to get stuck in the teeth.

10. Constant snacking: Eating little amounts frequently throughout the day produces less saliva than a meal, leaving food bits in your teeth for hours longer.  Every time you eat, the byproduct of bacteria munching on the food you eat will cause an acid attack.  Avoid snacking too frequently, and stick to snacks that are low in sugar and starch — for example, carrot sticks.

 

AAPD Reminds Parents to Brush Kids’ Teeth Two Minutes

girl brushing teeth 199x300 AAPD Reminds Parents to Brush Kids Teeth Two Minutes The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), the authority on children’s oral health, is encouraging parents and caregivers to remember that the best way to keep little smiles healthy is  by simply brushing their children’s teeth for two minutes, twice a day.

In time for back-to-school season, the AAPD joined with the Ad Council, as part of the Partnership for Healthy Mouths, Health Lives, to launch a historic nationwide campaign designed to encourage parents and caregivers to modify their children’s oral health behaviors through low-cost, preventive strategies. Campaign media partners include Sesame Workshop, DreamWorks, Cartoon Network, My Kazoo! and many others.

According to AAPD President Dr. Joel H. Berg, “This first-of-its-kind campaign unifies dozens of dental organizations around a common message and raises the awareness of children and their parents about the importance of oral health, which is critical, and desperately needs attention on Halloween, and every single day of the year.”

In order to properly prepare for the Halloween holiday, AAPD urges parents and caregivers to visit the campaign’s website http://2min2x.org/ for key recommendations and tips on maintaining healthy teeth on this holiday and throughout the year:

  • Keep Kids’ Mouths Healthy: Parents and caregivers should help or watch over their kids’ tooth brushing abilities until they’re at least 8-years-old.
  • The Right Toothbrush: Kids should use a soft toothbrush that allows them to reach all areas of their mouth.  Remember to replace toothbrushes every three-four months and even sooner if the bristles are worn out, or if your children have been sick.
  • Attack Plaque: Plaque is a sticky film of germs that forms on teeth and gums after eating. Plaque that’s not removed by brushing twice a day can lead to cavities.
  • Visit a Dentist: It’s important to visit your dentist regularly your whole life, starting no later than age one. Seeing a dentist regularly is important for good oral health as dentists can detect small problems before they become bigger and more painful problems.
  • Floss Your Teeth: Kids should clean between their teeth once a day, every day, with floss or flossers to remove plaque and food where a toothbrush can’t reach. Children’s teeth can be flossed as soon as two of their teeth touch each other.
  • Use Fluoride: Fluoride is nature’s cavity fighter and occurs naturally in water and some foods. To help protect teeth from cavities, fluoride is added to dental products like toothpaste. Children two years of age or older should always use a fluoride toothpaste.
  • Baby Tooth Decay Is Real: As soon as teeth appear in your baby’s mouth, it’s possible for your baby to develop cavities. It is important to keep your baby’s gums and teeth clean to prevent tooth decay, even in baby teeth.
  • Prevent Kids’ Tooth Decay: You can prevent tooth decay for your kids by lowering the risk of your baby getting the bacteria that cause tooth decay. Make sure you take good care of your baby’s teeth – this reduces the number of bacteria in your baby’s mouth.
  • Nutrition: A balanced diet helps your children’s teeth and gums to be healthy. A diet high in natural or added sugars may place your child at extra risk for tooth decay
    • A sugary or starchy food with sugar is safer for teeth if it is eaten with a meal, not as a snack. Chewing during a meal helps produce saliva which helps wash away sugar and starch.
    • Sticky food’s, like potato chips, raisins and other dried fruit and candy are not easily washed away from your kid’s teeth by saliva, water or milk, so they have more cavity-causing potential.
    • Talk to your dentist about serving foods that protect your kid’s dental health.

In fact, AAPD has revised its Policy on Dietary Recommendations for Infants, Children, and Adolescents, which can be located at http://www.aapd.org/media/Policies_Guidelines/P_DietaryRec.pdf

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For more helpful tips to ensure that your family enjoys a fun and healthy Halloween, please visit http://www.aapd.org.

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