There’s a saying by Maya Angelou that my periodontist at Periodontal Associates in Mississauga referenced when I became frustrated over a simple procedure that I felt could have been avoided if I was more aware – “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”
Unbeknownst to me, there were things that I was doing every single day that were damaging my teeth. I mean, who knew that opening a bag of chips, or chewing on my pencil when in deep thought, were all frowned upon by my periodontist? Not me! I have done these simple things for years, not knowing the damage I was doing to my teeth until Dr. Quyen Su, periodontist, pointed it out.
So, now that I know better, I do better. How many of these six things do you do without realizing the potential consequences to your dental health?
- Using a hard-bristled toothbrush: I love the feeling of clean teeth and my dental team consistently tells me that I brush too hard. In my mind, I confused over-brushing with cleaner teeth. I was wrong. To that end, I now have an electric toothbrush that stops spinning if I press too hard. You see, by pressing too hard you are actually breaking down your tooth structure and irritating your gums. Adopting better dental habits is a way better idea than brushing harder.
- Using your teeth to… : My teeth often double as scissors and a bottle opener most days. While it may be due to my own laziness, sometimes it’s just way more convenient to rip into a bag of potato chips with my teeth than it is to get up and get the scissors. However, your teeth are not a tool and when you use them as such, you risk damaging your dental work or causing your teeth to crack.
- Chewing on ice: Ice is just water, right? Yes, but when frozen it can cause a lot of damage. Our teeth are meant to chew through items, not crush against them. Chomping down on ice can wear down your teeth and cause sensitivity.
- Biting your nails: For those, like me, who bite their nails, you probably don’t even realize you’re doing it. Beyond just being gross (bacteria lives under your fingernails), it can also cause damage to your tooth structure. Chronic nail biting can lead to teeth shifting and / or splintering.
- Chewing on pencils: Similar to biting your nails or chewing on ice, the pressure you place on your teeth when biting down on a non-edible product can cause shifting and/or breakage. Save your pencil for tapping or writing instead.
- Rinsing with water after you brush: Most of us wait until after breakfast to brush our teeth…don’t wait! You want to remove the bacteria from your teeth as soon as possible upon waking. Brush first and then simply rinse with water to remove food debris following breakfast.
- BONUS TIP: Don’t rinse after you brush your teeth, it actually removes the protective fluoride that help your teeth stay strong and strong teeth can be the best protection against future periodontal disease.
Be proactive. Ask your friends and family to let you know if you’re doing any of these sub-conscious habits so you can become more aware and stop.
About Periodontal Associates
Your comfort matters to us, so we invite you to visit our periodontal practice in Mississauga and speak with our team of experts in periodontal disease. As experts in periodontal treatments, specializing in dental implants, gum recession, crown lengthening, bone and gum grafting, the Chao pinhole surgical technique and more, we’d love to help you address your dental and smile concerns. Call us at 1-800-341-7471 or connect via email at [email protected]. Until then…keep smiling!