We need our teeth to chew properly, pronounce words correctly, and smile confidently. Your dentist will do his part as long as we show up for our appointments, but the things we can do to control our dental destiny are numerous.
On a positive note, brushing (at least twice each day) plus flossing (if you only floss once per day do it at night to remove the debris between teeth and at the gum line that your tooth brush missed) are two things to do daily. Keeping appointments with the dentist every six months will remove harmful plaque build-up and teeth will be polished to look their best.
But more importantly, the dental exam provides an opportunity for the dentist to look for problems like dental decay, dental abnormalities, and any signs of serious conditions like oral cancer.
The list of things we should not do with and to our teeth is extensive. Diet is important … sugary snacks and beverages should be limited to aid in cavity prevention. Soda consumption is not only empty calories leading to unwanted extra pounds, but the sugar and acids in soda can erode dental enamel leading to cavities.
As we age, the stresses of homework, employment, financial worries, traffic jams, crying babies, and day to day responsibilities can result in teeth grinding and jaw clenching. This habit often starts during periods of sleep so awareness may not be immediate. Your dentist will see the evidence as dental enamel can be worn down; if you awaken with neck, head, or jaw pain you might be grinding and clenching. A solution may be as easy as a mouth guard to prevent this nighttime habit.
Biting into objects like hard candy or chewing ice may seem harmless, but the result can be a chipped or broken tooth. Teeth are very hard, but not invincible.
Never use your teeth to open packages or bottles … that’s what scissors, letter, and bottle openers are for.
Chewing or biting your fingernails is a habit usually observed in children and teenagers. Hopefully, by the time they reach adulthood, they realize how damaging and unsanitary this habit is.
The do’s and don’ts of dental health care are not that difficult to observe. Brush and floss daily, see your dentist every six months for preventive care, and be mindful of what your teeth are for.