Are you ruining your teeth without realising?

You might be brushing twice a day, eating healthy foods, and attending regular dental check-ups. But even if you think you’re taking excellent care of your teeth, some seemingly healthy habits can actually cause long-term dental damage. Read on to find out how to avoid them.

Bad habit #1: Rinsing your teeth after you brush

Rinsing after you brush can wash away the fluoride in your toothpaste that helps to protect teeth from decay. For the healthiest long-term results, rinse with mouthwash before you brush your teeth, then brush with a fluoride paste and just spit out the excess toothpaste.

Bad habit #2: Snacking on dried fruit

Dried fruit is packed with sugar and doesn’t contain any of the water that helps to make fresh fruit so healthy. The sticky consistency also causes dried fruit to adhere to crevices between the teeth and around the gums, encouraging cavity-causing bacteria. You can minimise the risk by rinsing water around your mouth after eating and making sure you brush teeth thoroughly before bed.

Bad habit #3: Brushing immediately after a meal

You may think that brushing straight after a meal is the best way to avoid plaque accumulation but cleaning your teeth too soon after eating or drinking certain foods can damage tooth enamel.  Acidic foods such as oranges or lemons can soften tooth enamel for a period, so if you brush too soon after eating them you can damage enamel in its weakened state.

Bad habit #4: Using teeth as tools

Using teeth to snap a label off an item of clothing when there are no scissors handy may seem like the fastest solution, but this type of behaviour can cause long-term wear and tear and risk chipping or damaging teeth. Invest in a set of kitchen tools and save your teeth from potential trauma.

Bad habit #5: Doing intense exercise

How on earth can intense exercise be bad for your teeth? According to a recent study by the UCL Eastman Dental Institute, nearly half of elite athletes have untreated tooth decay despite brushing and flossing more regularly than the general public. Several factors may contribute to this anomaly, including the excessive use of sugary sports drinks, energy bars, and energy gels and the increased risk of dehydration. A dry mouth means less saliva, which is an important substance for rinsing away bacteria and protecting tooth enamel. If you exercise regularly, make sure you stay well hydrated and try to avoid consuming sugary energy drinks.

To make sure your teeth stay in excellent condition book yourself in for a check-up appointment at our St Albans practice. We offer early morning and late evening appointments to suit your schedule.

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