Most of us tend to feel like we take pretty good care of ourselves. From watching our weight to drinking enough water, we see that small choices add up to big results over the course of our life. But when it comes to our smile, there may be some habits that we don’t realize are actually harming our teeth.
Here are five examples of things that you need to consider when it comes to avoiding serious dental problems later on:
Drinking Sports Drinks
Believe it or not, some of the healthiest patients that a dentist will see are the ones with the worst teeth. Why? Because if you work out a lot, you might be consuming a high number of sports drinks. These beverages can do even more destruction than a soda will. Staying hydrated with water is ideal. But if you do need a sport drink now and then, drink it all at once and then rinse your mouth out thoroughly with water.
Even “sugar free” gum can contribute to bacteria buildup and cavities. However…chewing a gum with Xylitol in it can actually be good for your teeth and lower your plaque levels. The next time you’re at the checkout counter and picking up a pack, read the label.
For people that suffer from jaw pain, headaches, or TMJ disorder, chewing gum on a regular basis can overuse the muscles around the mandible. Even if you’re taking an over the counter pain reliever or applying a warm compress, the symptoms may not improve.
Using Homemade Concoctions on Your Teeth
Search the internet and you’ll find a DIY for just about anything…including your teeth. From homemade teeth whitening solutions to ways to straighten your teeth, these recommendations can often be a recipe for disaster. Consider the source that they’re coming from, and use your best judgement.
One such example is using household products to whiten your teeth, such as baking soda, peroxide, lemons, and even strawberries. Rubbing a lemon can make your teeth look whiter at first. But what’s really happening is that the acids from the fruit are etching away at your tooth. Do that too many times and you’ll have sensitive teeth, thinning enamel, and a darker smile because of the exposed inner tooth layers.
Ignoring Your Bleeding Gums
Bleeding gums are never normal. Whether you’ve had them for years or they tend to run in your family, the problem is your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong.
In the majority of cases, the bleeding is caused by infection or biofilm along the margins of your gums. Routine cleanings combined with daily flossing are the only way to see symptoms reverse. But when they don’t, you could have a more serious problem: periodontal disease. When that’s the case, a deep cleaning may be necessary to stop your smile from heading toward the direction of tooth loss.
Sometimes, bleeding is also a side-effect of underlying medical conditions. Be sure to review your health history with your dentist so that an appropriate diagnosis and care recommendation can be made.
Making Excuses to Not See a Dentist
The phrases “My teeth are fine, nothing even hurts!” or “I haven’t seen a dentist since my employer dropped our insurance benefits, I just can’t afford it!” are more common in a dentist’s office than you might think. While your teeth may feel ok now, there could be serious issues in the works that don’t become evident until the damage is severe.
Seeing a dentist regularly can help you stay on top of big dental problems before they even start. Not only can this save you a significant amount of money, it’s better for your teeth because you won’t need as many treatments. The focus becomes preventive or planning smaller treatments rather than big ones once symptoms start.
If insurance is the underlying problem, you might want to look into another cost-effective option like a dental savings plan. The discount programs at Aetna Dental Offers can help members safe between 15-50% on treatments like cleanings, fillings, and other services. Contact our savings experts today to find out more.
Save 15% to 50%* at the Dentist
With an Aetna Dental Savings Plan.