The outside of teeth is made out of the hardest material in your body, enamel. Though enamel can take some abuse, it can still be damaged easily if you don’t take proper care of your teeth. Teeth can stay in good health your entire life if you take good care of them (and aren’t unlucky). Here are a few tips to follow if you want to keep your teeth in good shape and avoid the need for expensive dental procedures.
Brush After Every Meal
You should try to brush your teeth after every meal, which for most people means 3 times per day. If you eat 5 small meals per day, you don’t necessarily need to brush after every meal, but try to brush after any meals that contained a lot of sugar, refined carbohydrates or acidic foods, which are the worst foods for your teeth. Also, don’t brush immediately after you eat but about 45-60 minutes afterwards so the acidity in your mouth can neutralize and your teeth can naturally remineralize before you brush them. Brush gently and always in an up and down motion using a soft bristled toothbrush.
Don’t Use Your Teeth to Open Bottles
Your teeth were not designed to be multipurpose tools and thus should not be used for anything else besides chewing food. Opening bottles, crushing ice and even opening plastic bags with your teeth can cause severe damage.
Use a Mouthguard During Sports
If you play any dangerous sports such as boxing, rugby, martial arts, but even soccer, basketball and skateboarding, you should wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth.
If you notice that you are regularly grinding your teeth during the day out of boredom or stress you need to try to get this bad habit under control. Teeth grinding can severely harm your teeth, eroding enamel, causing gum recession and even tooth loss eventually. If you can’t shake the habit or if you grind at night (pay attention if your partner hears strange noises coming from your mouth at night) you should get a mouthguard made to help prevent damage to your teeth.
Don’t Drink Soda
Soft drinks can destroy your teeth, especially if consumed often. The acidity in many of these drinks can be compared to that of battery acid, not to mention the high amounts of sugar they contain which can also lead to severe tooth decay. Stick to water and green tea if you want to keep your teeth in good shape.
Don’t Whiten Your Teeth Often
While teeth whitening can make your teeth look great again and incentivize you to take better care of them, whitening your teeth regularly can cause irritation of the gums and cause further harm to already worn enamel.
Don’t Get Pierced
Tongue and lip piercings can cause serious damage to your teeth. These piercings are made from a very hard metal that can chip and even break your teeth. People with tongue piercings are likely to play with it constantly, lightly hitting it against their teeth, potentially causing shaving and chipping of teeth.
Zane Schwarzlose is a writer for the Lakeway Center for Family and Cosmetic Dentistry, an Austin dental office. Zane is glad he wore a mouthguard when playing sports.