How many of your regular habits have an adverse effect on your smile?
Recent studies show that over 31% of Americans ages 20-44 have untreated cavities, and there’s a good chance that some of these popular habits are to blame. From seemingly innocuous activities like visiting your local cafe to the more niche habit of getting facial piercings, join us for an exploration of habits that may be harming your smile when you’re not even realizing it.
Many life coaches, successful entrepreneurs, and self-help gurus speak about the life-changing power of good habits, but habits can also have a dark side. Just as positive habits can instill beneficial qualities like self-discipline and fitness, negative habits can be harming your health or teeth gradually over time. This is why it’s important to reflect on the habits you regularly engage in and consider the ramifications they may be having on your life, health, and smile.
Frequently snacking throughout the day is a major contributor to tooth decay and obesity. Unless you’re snacking on healthy dental foods like carrots and apples, then your frequent snacking is ensuring that your teeth remain coated in sugar throughout the day. Note that it’s not just sweets that have this effect – Every carbohydrate turns to sugar when you consume it, so bread, chips, and pasta can harm your teeth just as easily as sweet foods that are full of sugar. Plus, many foods that pass as snack foods are among the absolute worst for your smile.
Did you know that 33% of Americans admit to chewing on pencils? Even if pencils aren’t within arms reach throughout your day, other commonly chewed on objects include pens, fingernails, and straws. In addition to introducing foreign types of bacteria into your mouth, chewing on pencils and other objects can cause subtle damage to the teeth that ultimately leads to chipping and other damage. For a safe outlet for your chewing habit, try xylitol gum – it’s not just harmless for your teeth – it actually provides benefits that you and your dentist will be happy about.
Americans are obsessed with their local cafes. Starbucks alone brings in over $22 Billion in revenue annually, and it only makes up about 40% of the market. It’s important to know that aside from black coffee, many of the sugary specialty drinks and pastries are among the worst things for your teeth. If you love spending time at the cafe or getting your daily Caramel Macchiato, it’s worthwhile to understand that it will wreak havoc on your teeth until you find time to brush them.
The first body piercings are traced back over 2500 years, and even today, about 10% of women and 16% of men have a tongue piercing. Whether your piercing is in your lip, tongue, or somewhere else near your mouth, it poses an increased risk to your oral health.
The warm, isolated wound created by a tongue or mouth piercing is a haven where bacteria can thrive, leading to infection. Furthermore, if hardware comes into contact with your teeth, it can cause damage including chipping and scratching. If you decide to get a facial piercing near your mouth, it’s crucial that you follow all aftercare recommendations and precautions to ensure that it doesn’t lead to infection or harm to your oral health.
It’s interesting to consider which of your habits may be having a positive or adverse effect on your health and the health of your smile. Many times, it may not occur to us that our habits make a difference, but as is the case with chewing on pencils or hitting the cafe each day, they can often influence our oral health. If you’re unsure about how an activity affects your teeth or are simply ready for your next appointment, contact Dr. Grubb in Havre De Grace, MD.