20 Mistakes You’re Making With Your Teeth


When you have a charming smile on your face, you can win hearts and make others grin along. Dressing in accordance with the occasion is necessary but for all those who are not a pro at that, can do without it by wearing a smile. However, until and unless we are confident enough, we cannot flash that effortless smile. First thing we need to beam confidently is ivory white teeth; no one would want to show off yellow or stained ones and become a subject of ridicule. Although having shiny white teeth is not that hard, a little ignorance can make them look pale. Small care can help us keep that smile intact and we have compiled a few steps which one can follow to keep the teeth healthy and white. Alice Lee, assistant professor at the ‘Department of Dentistry for Montefiore Health System’ and Alison Newgard, assistant professor of clinical dentistry at ‘Columbia University College of Dentistry’, will give us a helping hand in taking care of our smiles and tell you what you’re not doing right.

1. One Work At A Time

While brushing our teeth we need to concentrate on it and nothing else. Most of us try to save time by multitasking and this little time-saving mantra is harming our teeth. Our teeth deserve those minutes and if we do not provide them with the requisite, we might repent in the long run.

2. Clean It The Right Way

People who are obsessed with cleanliness and too concerned about bacterial infection, tend to clean their toothbrushes in dishwashers or even put it in a microwave. However, studies do not suggest that one can contract some infection from the toothbrush; rather too much cleaning might distort the bristles. Clean it with water and help your teeth stay healthy.

3. Virtual Dentist

When in need of some medical help for your teeth or any other issue, consider visiting a doctor rather than scrolling through webpages. Most of us rely on the net for medical help which is incorrect. Rather, invest some time and visit the dentist to get a proper checkup, and find the actual cause.

4. Dental X-Ray

A piece published in the journal ‘Cancer’ suggested that dental x-rays are associated with brain tumors. However, this claim was not affirmed by the ‘American Cancer Society’, since the patients who were included in the study undertook x-rays at a time when the radiations were more harmful. Even now, frequent scans could be harmful so, just to be on the safe side, we should try and avoid it as much as we can. Under certain circumstances, we cannot do without an x-ray, so we should consult the physician before undergoing one.

5. Store in a Dry Place

While travelling, toothbrush is a must and we often put it in a case when we pack our luggage. We should make sure that we do not keep it wet and even if we pack it when moist, we let it dry as soon as possible; not letting it lie in the case until we need it next time. As stated by Dr. Lee “While you should use a cover or case during transport, make sure you take your toothbrush out and allow it to air dry when you reach your destination.”

6. Piercing

Every individual has a style quotient and ways to flaunt it. However, some of it may harm us like piercing the lip or the tongue. Dr. Lee has encountered patients with gum and tooth problems and she says, “I’ve treated patients who fractured or chipped their teeth from biting on their piercings.” She also says, “I’ve also had patients with gum recession and other soft-tissue injuries from their piercing rubbing against tender areas of the mouth.”

7. Acids

Many claim that gulping apple cider vinegar is good for health. However, medical experts do not agree with it, and in fact have contradictory views. The acetic acid content in the vinegar can cause harm to the teeth and even when we rinse out mouths with water, the effect of the acid remains. If we go by Dr. Newgard we should avoid it completely, as he says, “I just think you shouldn’t use it at all”.

8. Braces & Retainers

You wish to have well lined teeth and for that you visit an orthodontist. The doctor fixes your teeth with the help of braces and you are advised to keep wearing those retainers. When you think you have achieved that perfectly lined teeth, you put away those braces. However, one should not forgo the retainers even if one does not use the braces; they help to maintain the shape. But, retainers may also lead to plaque so keeping them clean is an utmost priority.

9. Enamel Erosion

Most of us like to start our day with a glass of lemon water or orange juice, and then brush our teeth. But this is not a healthy practice as it harms our teeth to a great extent. The enamel is weakened by acids contained in the citrus fruits and when we swipe them with toothbrush, they erode, making the teeth weak. It is advisable that we nullify the effect of the acid by rinsing our mouths with water, or baking soda solution or by drinking milk. Even when we vomit, the enamel goes through the same process so neutralizing is needed even after that.

10. Clenching Teeth

When we are angry or irritated, we tend to clench our teeth, which of course can be avoided. However, some of us press jaws against each other, involuntarily while we are asleep. This might create dental issues and result in headache. We can try not to clench the teeth when it is in our control, but if we realize that we often do it unknowingly, we should visit a dentist and get a guard for our jaws.

11. No Smoking

Smoking is injurious to health and by now it sounds like a cliché. Even then there are many more harmful effects we are unaware of, like the damage it causes to our gums. The nicotine intake as a result of smoking reduces our chances of recovering from the gum diseases as we lose the power to battle with the problems

12. Toothpick

We often use a toothpick to prick our teeth when we feel something stuck to our tooth. I know it’s irritating and we don’t rest until and unless we get rid of it. However, in the process we end up hurting our gums. We should be very careful especially while using wooden toothpicks as they might break and get stuck themselves.

13. Visit the Dentist

A regular visit to the dentist keeps dental problems at bay, but most of us do not follow instructions and delay the visits. The more we delay the greater the problems become.

14. Bleach

According to Dr. Lee, “Overbleaching teeth can lead to weakened enamel and teeth sensitivity”. While striving to make our teeth look bright, we make them appear pale by using bleach. We do not know the type of our teeth and what product will suit them, but our dentist does. Therefore, before using any whitening agent we should consult the specialist and take their advice.

15. Fluorides

Drinking water which contains fluorides is beneficial for our teeth. If the water which we drink, (be it tap water or bottled water), does not contain this element, it is recommended that we use a toothpaste which contains the chemical.

16. Mineral & Vitamins

Calcium and vitamin D are much needed for maintaining teeth and bone health, and we need to take them in the requisite amount. The ‘National Osteoporosis Foundation’ establishes that a woman’s daily intake of calcium ranges from 1,000-1,200 milligrams, while vitamin D needs to be between 400-1,000 IU (international units).

17. Acids & Fructose

Many health conscious people resort to fruit juices as a healthy companion, but, they are not aware of the dental injuries these fluids could cause. Both the acidic as well as the sugar content is detrimental for oral health. To minimize the damaging effects, drink lots of water and brush your teeth well.

18. Treat Them Tender

To keep plaque at bay we often use hard-bristled brushes but we do not know that these can harm us much more than they do well. Hard-bristled brushes can injure tissues and even result in gingivitis. Dentists recommend the use of soft or extra-soft bristled brushes to keep those teeth strong and sparkling white.

19. Mouth Wash

We reach for a variety of mouth washes that get rid of bad breath. Even though these mouth washes have a pleasant effect, it is only a temporary one. In the long run these can be damaging. The medicated ones may not be as pleasing as the flavored ones but they do help to in fighting dental problems.

20. Soda

A study conducted in 2008 found that sports drinks, sodas or even diet sodas can harm our choppers. Despite diet sodas being sugar free, they pose danger to our teeth owing to their acidic nature.

Of course, we cannot forgo all that the list contains or turn our lifestyle upside down in one day, but knowing the harms certain things cause can help us keep a check on them and if possible, reduce their priority in our lives.

Credit: Getty Images


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