6 Harmful Habits That Affect Your Teeth
Nearly everyone has at least one habit that they wish they could break. Did you know that some of them can affect your oral health? Here are a few common habits and tips for how to break them.
- Nail Biting
Why it’s harmful: Your dental health may suffer from nail biting by possibly chipping your teeth or impacting your tooth. You place pressure on your jaw when you leave it in a protruding position for long periods of time. You could also tear or damage your gums.
The solution: Some patients find it helpful to wear a mouth guard to deter form nail biting. Other ways to reduce nail biting include using therapy techniques, reducing stress, or applying bitter tasting nail polish.
- Brushing Too Hard
Why it’s harmful: It’s best to brush your teeth for two minutes at least twice a day. Make sure to not brush too hard since this can lead to damage to the teeth and gum irritation. When you brush too hard, you risk gum recession and not cleaning your teeth efficiently.
The solution: Instead of brushing hard, use a soft toothbrush and apply a proper pressure. Let your toothbrush bristles touch your gums at a 45 degree angle and reduce the force of your brush on your gums.
- Grinding and Clenching
Why it’s harmful: This can chip or crack your teeth as well as cause muscle tenderness and joint pain. You may also experience a painful sensation when chewing or inability to open your mouth wide.
The solution: Stay aware of your teeth grinding and clenching and use relaxation exercises to keep from doing both. A mouthguard can also help protect you from grinding your teeth while you sleep. This will reduce any tooth pain, or muscle soreness and give you a better sleep. Our dentist can provide recommendations for how to combat teeth grinding.
- Chewing Ice Cubes
Why it’s harmful: Tooth enamel and ice are both crystals. When you push two crystals against each other, it can cause one to break. This may be the ice and sometimes it may be the tooth.
The solution: Try drinking beverages without ice or use a straw instead.
- Constant Snacking
Why it’s harmful: If your diet consists heavily of sugary foods and drinks, you are at a higher risk of forming cavities. The cavity-causing bacteria feast on leftover food and produces acid that attacks the outer shell of your teeth.
The solution: To reduce snacking, eat balanced meals so that you can feel fuller, longer. You should avoid sugary foods when snacking. If you are tempted to eat the occasional sugary snack, just make sure to drink a glass of water after to wash away the leftover food.
- Using Your Teeth as a Tool
Why it’s harmful: Using your teeth as a tool to hold items, open bottles, cut through thread, or other functions can put you at risk for chipped or broken teeth or jaw injuries.
The solution: Your teeth should never be used to hold or open items or to cut things when you don’t have scissors at your disposal. Look for your scissors or find someone that can give you a hand. Your mouth will thank you for it and you’ll be saving yourself from potentially costly and painful dental complications.
1019 Keyes Ave.
Schenectady, NY 12309
Pediatric Dentist in Schenectady
Braces are a safe, effective way to correct the alignment of your teeth. For some orthodontic patients, minor irritation or other issues can occur. For your reference, we’ve compiled a guide to understanding how to best handle a few issues you might experience.
I Am Experiencing Discomfort with My Braces
Minor discomfort for the first few days after placement or adjustment is normal. We advise sticking to a diet of soft, easy-to-chew foods. You may find it helpful to rinse your mouth with warm salt water. If discomfort continues beyond the first week, contact our office for guidance.
Food Is Caught Between My Teeth
It may take some time to adjust to eating with your braces. If food gets caught between your teeth, try using floss. Creating a small knot in the floss might make it more effective at catching the lodged piece of food. Small toothbrushes or interdental cleaners may also be an effective way to clean out the gaps between your teeth and in brackets. A toothpick may also work, but use extra caution when working around the wires of your braces.
My Braces Are Irritating My Mouth
Wires and brackets can rub against your lips or inner cheeks causing discomfort. In these instances, use non-medicinal relief wax to cover the problematic area. This can make eating and talking more comfortable. The wax is harmless if accidentally swallowed.
A Wire Is Sticking Out
Though not common, wires can shift and protrude into your mouth. Attempt to push the wire back into place against your teeth using a cotton swab or even a clean pencil eraser. Make sure to let us know about the issue during your next visit.
A Bracket, Wire, or Band is Loose
Any loosening of your braces should be examined by our team. Loosening of the appliance may occur from eating hard, crunchy foods or from playing contact sports. Your best defenses are avoiding troublesome foods and wearing a mouth guard if you are playing sports. If any part of your braces is removed, please save it and bring it with you to our office.
Adjusting to braces can take some time. Always have non-medicinal relief wax on hand in case your braces become an irritant. If your braces are loose or parts are falling off, please contact us immediately. The best way to keep your braces secure is to avoid sticky, hard, and crunchy foods. Don’t forget to brush thoroughly after each meal to clean out any food particles that may have become lodged between your teeth.
For questions about your braces, please contact our office.
Pediatric Dentist in Schenectady
We understand how easy it can be to forget about your retainer. Once you get used to having one, it can become second nature to regularly care for it. For those who are new to retainers, however, it can be tricky to remember to take care of your new appliance. We’ve assembled a list of five tips to help you get started in the right direction.
- Keep It In, Unless…
Your retainer should be worn for the entire day. Without it, your orthodontic treatment results will suffer. There are only a few exceptions to this rule. Do take out your retainer while you eat, clean it, during sports, and as directed by your dentist and our doctor. Otherwise, keep it in!
- Use Your Case
Your retainer will come with a case to store it in. When it’s out of your mouth, use the case. We’ve heard many horror stories of patients putting their retainer in a napkin while they eat, only to throw it away by mistake. A replacement retainer can be costly, so treat yours with care.
- Clean it Regularly
Your retainer needs to be kept clean. Like your teeth, plaque and bacteria can build up on it, which can be harmful to your teeth. We recommend cleaning your retainer every time you brush. Rinse your retainer with water, then use toothpaste and your toothbrush to give a gentle scrubbing. Rinse it off a final time before putting it back in your mouth.
- Be Careful of Sports
Contact sports pose a risk of damaging your retainer. Even non-contact sports may cause you to experience some degree of facial trauma. While playing sports, your retainer should be removed and placed in its protective case. Ask about a custom mouth guard to protect your teeth during these activities.
- Visit Us
While receiving orthodontic treatment, we will schedule a series of appointments with you to measure your progress. These visits are important for ensuring your results are maintained. They allow our team to make sure your retainer continues to fit properly, as well.
It may take some time to become comfortable with caring for your retainer. Follow our guide to stay on track. Keeping your retainer clean is just as important as keeping your teeth clean. Don’t forget to remove your retainer while eating, and always use the case to store it when it is not in your mouth.
For more retainer care tips or to schedule your next visit to our office, please contact our team.
Schenectady Pediatric Dentist
The desire for straighter teeth goes back thousands of years. We’ve come a long way in improving our smiles. Braces have evolved over time to become more comfortable and efficient. Here are six things you probably never knew about braces.
1. Ancient Egyptians May Have Wanted Straighter Teeth
Archaeologists have found mummies with cords wound around their teeth, likely to straighten them. What were these ancient braces made from? Animal intestines. Thankfully, our orthodontist has more modern materials to work with!
2. You’re Not Alone
An estimated 4 million people in the US currently are wearing braces or another device to correct their teeth. That’s a little more than the number of people living in Los Angeles.
3. Getting Braces is a Little Like Rocket Science
NASA scientists were looking for a flexible material for solar panels and turned to a metal called nitinol 60. As nitinol heats up, it reverts to its original shape. Today, nitinol is used in braces. The heat from your mouth makes the metal return to its original shape, helping guide your teeth to where they should be.
4. Wear Your Retainer!
Did you know that an estimated 25% of braces wearers neglect to wear their retainer? Many end up needing a second set of braces. Don’t be one of the 25%. Wear your retainer for lasting results and a perfect smile.
5. Braces Are Older Than America
If you consider 1776 to be the birth year of America, braces have another 48 years on the United States. The first modern braces were developed in 1728 by Pierre Fauchard. He used flat metal brackets and connected the teeth using thread.
6. Busting Braces Myths
You don’t have a greater chance of being struck by lightning when wearing braces. Your braces also can’t interfere with any radio signals. Take some comfort in knowing not everything you’ve heard about braces holds true.
Though braces have been around for hundreds of years, today’s braces are more efficient and comfortable than in the past. Our experienced orthodontic team will help you get the results you desire. If you are ready for your perfect smile, set up a consultation with us today.
For more information about braces or to schedule your orthodontic consultation, please contact our office.
Pediatric Dentist Schenectady
Test your child’s (and maybe your own) knowledge with these five fun facts about teeth and brushing. How many do you know without checking?
1. What color is your toothbrush? The most common color is blue, followed by red. If you will be spending the night somewhere or are going camping, take a toothbrush that isn’t blue to avoid confusion!
2. It’s a commonly repeated story that George Washington had wooden teeth, but this is not the case. In fact, his dentures were made from bone, brass, gold, and ivory. Washington suffered from extensive dental problems his entire life, and only had one tooth left by the time he became president.
3. Do you know how many teeth you have? Kids have up to 20 teeth and a full adult set has 32. Luckily, you don’t have as many teeth as some armadillo species, which can have more than 100 teeth!
4. The tooth fairy’s pay rate has increased over time. In 1950, the average pay for a tooth was 25 cents. By 1988, the tooth fairy was paying $1 per tooth, and in 2015 that number jumped to an average of $3.19.
5. Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in your body. 96% of enamel is made of minerals. Brushing twice each day for two minutes, and flossing regularly is the key to keeping your enamel free from decay.
How many of these fun teeth facts did you already know? The most important fact to know about your teeth is that taking care of them is essential to your health. Make sure your child is keeping up with their oral hygiene routine, as well as visiting us for a regular examination.
For more tips on keeping your child’s teeth healthy or to schedule your child’s next visit to our office, please contact us. We look forward to seeing you!