Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Habits That Hurts Your Teeth

Here are eight seemingly harmless habits that may be putting your teeth at risk.

1. Snacking at night
Our mouths produce less saliva at night than they do during the day, and saliva is important for clearing food away from the teeth. As a result, people who snack at night tend to lose more teeth over time than people who don't, according to a study published in June in the journal Eating Behaviors.

2. Drinking white wine
People shy away from red wine because it stains the teeth immediately, but white wine can actually cause more permanent problems, says Irwin Smigel, president of the American Society of Dental Aesthetics and the creator of SuperSmile.

Your favorite chardonnay or pinot grigio is highly acidic, and this acidity eats away at the enamel of the teeth, "causing rough spots and grooves that leave teeth much more vulnerable to stains from any colored food or drinks consumed at the same time," Smigel says.

3. Breathing through your mouth
When you breathe through your mouth, such as when exercising or when you have a stuffy nose, your mouth loses the saliva it needs to prevent tooth decay, says Lori Anna Dees, a root canal specialist based in Mesquite, Texas.

4. Consuming bottled water
Unlike tap water, bottled water is not fluoridated, and "fluoride helps teeth remineralize," Dees says.

5. Excessive gum chewing
While a few pieces of gum won't do your mouth any harm and gums containing xylitol may actually help stave off cavities, chewing too much gum may irritate the temporomandibular joint, Leichtung says. Problems with the TMJ -- which connects the lower jaw to the skull -- can lead toheadaches and neck, ear and facial pain.

6. Nail biting
Nail biting isn't just bad for your nails; it harms your teeth, too. For one thing, Smigel says, it reshapes the bottom of your upper teeth, leaving them with rigid edges. And, according to the Academy of General Dentistry, nail-biters are at a heightened risk of suffering from bruxism, or unintentional teeth grinding.

7. Drinking directly from glasses, bottles or cans
Big gulps of juice or soda put the drinks in direct contact with your teeth, which, over time, can cause tooth decay. But, according to the Academy of General Dentistry, you can minimize tooth contact by sipping drinks through straws positioned toward the back of the mouth.

8. Brushing your teeth with horizontal strokes
Horizontal brushing wears away tooth enamel, so it's far better to brush with gentle circular strokes, according to the Academy of General Dentistry.

taken from: AOLHealth

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