We all know the importance of daily brushing and flossing, and many of us are familiar with habits that put our teeth at risk, such as eating sugary foods or grinding our teeth. However, there are many foods and habits that seem safe, but are actually quite harmful for your teeth.
I’ve pulled my list of top five surprising things that can damage your teeth:
- Bread – When it comes to avoiding sugary foods, most of us think about eliminating candies and sweets – bread is likely not on the list. But most breads are chock full of sugar due to the yeast and carbohydrates. Processed white bread is the worst because it contains a lot of added sugar in addition to those that occur naturally. Check the label before purchasing bread, and be sure to avoid loaves with added sugar.
- Using your teeth as tools – We’ve all had that moment when we desperately need scissors but just can’t seem to find a pair. So instead, we use our teeth to gnaw open a package. If this is a regular habit, it can wear down your teeth and jaw bone, and in severe cases, lead to jaw bone misalignment. Though a hard habit to break, consider keeping extra scissors around for the sake of your teeth.
- Swimming pools – You wouldn’t think splashing around in the pool is harmful for your teeth. However, the chlorine in pools can wear away enamel, making your teeth more prone to damage. Try to keep your mouth closed during swim time, and lightly brush your teeth after a visit to the pool.
- Over-brushing – Of course, brushing your teeth is critical for good health. However, there is such a thing as over-brushing. If you brush your teeth more than three times a day, you may wear away the enamel. Aim to brush your teeth two to three times each day and your teeth will be clean, but not bare. You can also try this easy trick – hold your tooth brush with two fingers (your thumb and pointer or middle finger). This will prevent you from applying too much pressure when you brush and reduce enamel erosion!
- Teeth whitening – Whitening your teeth isn’t bad for them, but the overuse of at-home kits can be harmful. Chemicals in whitening formulas not only weaken your teeth’s enamel, but can also cause damage to your gums. If you’d like to whiten your teeth, consult with your dentist on what is the best option for you.
For more information on keeping your teeth healthy, visit the American Dental Association website