We’ve all heard it said that a healthy smile can light up a room but have you ever stopped to consider the impact your lifestyle habits could be having on your dental health?
Beyond just regular brushing and flossing, the way we live our lives can significantly influence the condition of our teeth and gums. Oral health offers a great insight into a person’s lifestyle. Excess sugar consumption and unhealthy habits will negatively impact the state of your teeth.
It’s vital to take good care of your teeth and gums. By doing so, you can help prevent dental issues that could be expensive and uncomfortable to treat. Numerous bad habits can impact your dental health. Here are six of the most common together with some simple steps you can take to protect your smile.
Habits That Impact Dental Health
1. Snacking in between meals
Grabbing a snack in between meals is a normal practice for many people but in truth, constant snacking could be damaging your smile more than you think. It’s not just what you eat or drink that affects dental health, but how often you consume food and drinks.
Every time you grab a sweet or starchy snack or beverage, bacteria in the mouth create harmful acids that gradually wear away the tooth enamel. Compromised enamel can lead to decay, cavities and even dental disease. If left untreated, tooth loss could occur.
This process takes place whether you eat a single biscuit or an entire meal. So, if you’re constantly snacking, your mouth is mostly in an acidic environment, giving it little time to return to a neutral pH.
Tip: To keep your smile in the best shape possible, try to cut down on snacking between meals; and when you do crave a snack, choose a more healthy option such as crunchy raw vegetables like cucumber, carrots, and celery. Dairy products such as milk and cheese also help remove plaque from the surface of the teeth and keep enamel strong.
2. Excessive coffee consumption
Coffee consumption in the UK has increased by a staggering 25 million cups and believe it or not, coffee is second only to water in popularity worldwide. A cup of coffee first thing in the morning is part of many people’s daily routine. It provides the energy for the day ahead and supplies the boost needed to get on with our work.
That said, consuming too much coffee can leave a lasting mark on your teeth. Not only does coffee stain the teeth but because it’s acidic, it causes enamel erosion over time. Thinner enamel can lead to tooth sensitivity plus if you add sugar to your coffee, your risk of tooth decay also increases.
Tip: One way to protect your smile is to drink coffee through a straw to limit contact with the teeth. It’s also recommended to limit yourself to one cup in the morning to prevent an accumulation of bacteria in the mouth. After finishing a coffee, you should wait for 30 minutes before brushing your teeth to remove any residue. If you don’t have a toothbrush handy, rinse your mouth with water.
3. Smoking tobacco products
Cigarettes are well-documented for causing various health issues, including mouth cancer and 15 other types of cancer – and dental health is no exception. Tobacco products stain the teeth, cause bad breath, and increase the risk of gum disease and tooth loss.
Tip: To protect your teeth from staining and gum disease, you could choose to vape with zero nicotine. However, only time will tell if vaping is safer than smoking.
4. Alcohol consumption
Many of us enjoy a tipple from time to time, but surgeons have warned that drinking excessive alcohol poses serious oral health risks including mouth cancer, tooth erosion, tooth decay and accidental dental trauma.
Tip: Advice from the UK’s Chief Medical Officers on reducing alcohol consumption includes:
- Having several drink-free days per week
- Avoiding binge drinking
- Not drinking more than 14 units of alcohol a week
5. Using teeth as tools
Another common trend is for individuals to use teeth for odd jobs such as pulling the price tag of their clothing, tearing open a packet, and opening a bottle. Teeth are not designed to replace a pair of scissors or a bottle opener and using them in this way can easily crack, chip or break them and increases the risk of damaging the soft tissues of the lips or gums if you slip.
Tip: To prevent dental damage, invest in the proper tools for the job and keep them close by.
6. Nail biting
A nail-biting habit is especially bad for your teeth and fingernails. Germs encountered from the nails increase the risk of tooth decay, teeth wear down quicker and become misaligned, and pieces of a fingernail can damage the mouth’s soft tissues. Moreover, the fingernails are left looking unattractive, misshapen and ragged.
Tip: Stop biting your nails and you’ll achieve a beautiful set of nails worthy of a French manicure and a diamond ring!
Finally, A Way To Improve Your Dental Health That May Surprise You
The last tip we have up our sleeve to boost your oral health is to exercise. A recent study published in the Journal of Dentistry revealed that regular exercise can boost periodontal health. To be exact, people who exercise regularly are 54% less likely to develop gum disease than those who sit around on the sofa. Who’d have thought it?
Combining our tips with simple alterations to your lifestyle habits can help you improve your dental health and reward you with a healthy, bright smile you can enjoy showing off.
Good daily habits that benefit both your overall and dental health include exercising, drinking plenty of water, and getting a good night’s sleep. Oh, and don’t forget to schedule regular dental check-ups with the friendly team at Foxbury Dental. Call us today on 01858 455 100 or use our online booking system.