How many of us really consider our teeth as body parts that need maintenance a little more than mere twice brushing every day?
We hardly care about our teeth health till they ache so much that we have to pop in painkillers and rush to dentists for root canal treatment, dental fillings or tooth extractions.
As per the statistics provided by the World Health Organization (WHO), about 60–90% of school children and almost 100% of adults worldwide have dental cavities.
About 30% of senior citizens in the age group of 65–74 years are left with no natural teeth.
But not many are aware that unhealthy teeth and gums are responsible for a number of diseases including heart diseases, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, oral cancer, dementia, premature birth, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and pneumonia.
Here are 10 ways we damage our teeth every day, unknowingly:
1. By eating dried fruits:
Dried fruit like raisins contains excessive sugar, a prime cause of tooth decay and cavities.
However, you may try them in small quantities and make sure to brush properly so that the sugar doesn’t stay in-between your teeth, suggests UK-based women magazine Cosmopolitan.
2. By chewing ends of pens or pencils:
Human teeth are not made to chew on wooden, plastic or metallic objects.
If you have a habit of chewing pen or pencil end, you are actually irritating your teeth joints and making them vulnerable to stress fractures.
3. By drinking “diet” soft drinks:
It is not only sugary, carbonated drinks that are bad for your teeth. Sugar-free, ‘diet’ fizzy drinks are equal partners in crime.
According to New York-Presbyterian Hospital clinical instructor in the department of dentistry and oral surgery, Robert Sorin, when we drink sugar-free sodas, “You’re bathing teeth in an acid environment.”
4. By opening packages:
It’s high time that you let go of the habit of opening soda cans or bottles or tearing food packets or biting off the price tag of your new dress with your teeth. Human teeth are not tools … you have scissors or bottle openers to do the needful.
5. By being dehydrated:
If you are not drinking a minimum eight glasses of water every day, your dry mouth is actually preventing saliva production.
This leads to cavities formation, informs American health corporation WebMD.
6. By biting your nails:
Whether you bite your nails out of nervousness or habit, the fact remains, when you do so, you are actually trying to move your teeth out of place.
There is even a possibility of splintering the tooth enamel.
7. By grinding teeth:
Believe it or not, when you clench or grind your teeth, your action can wear them down and even cause micro fractures due to the pressure thrusted on them.
8. By brushing too hard:
Regular brushing is a sign of good hygiene. But when you brush your teeth too rigorously, you are actually wearing down enamel, irritating your gums, making your teeth sensitive to cold and even causing cavities.
Wellness portal Everyday Health suggests you brush firm enough to remove plaques but soft enough not to damage them.
9. By brushing teeth after breakfast:
No matter how romantic bed-tea and breakfast on bed may sound, you must always brush your teeth the first thing in the morning to wash off the bacteria that has formed in your mouth overnight.
Australian Dental Association’s Oral Health Committee chairman Dr Peter Alldritt says: “If you’ve had orange juice or fruit for breakfast the acid from that fruit softens the enamel on your teeth and if you brush too soon you could abrade the enamel.”
10. By drinking flavoured herbal tea:
There are certain flavours used in herbal tea that actually rots your teeth. In a research published on UK-based The Daily Mail, fruit flavours like lemon, raspberry and blackcurrant dissolve tooth enamel and leads to decay
Sreya is based in Kolkata. She is a Senior Editor of Big Wire.