Teeth play an important role in our health and everyday lives. They allow us to speak, chew and digest food. They also shape our faces and give us confidence-boosting smiles. Effectively preventing tooth wear is one way of ensuring that we maintain the health of our teeth.
WHAT IS TOOTH WEAR?
Tooth wear is a common condition where there is loss of tooth substance. Sometimes, it happens naturally with age. For example, it is normal for someone 40 years of age to have one millimetre of wear on their front teeth. However, teeth can wear faster than normal if proper dental health care is not maintained. This article discusses how to maintain your teeth and prevent tooth wear.
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO PREVENT TOOTH WEAR?
Keeping your teeth in good condition requires good dental habits and consistency. Here are some simple things you can do to prevent unnecessary wear:
1. BRUSH REGULARLY
The Canadian Dental Association recommends that you brush at least twice a day. While brushing your teeth is not a complicated task, it is important to do it correctly. Keep these tips in mind next time you brush:
- Use the right toothbrush. A good toothbrush has soft rounded bristles. The shape and size of your toothbrush should allow you to reach all your teeth.
- Brush at a 45-degree angle. Place the bristles where the gum meets the teeth and brush gently in a circular motion.
- Reach every surface. As you brush, ensure that your toothbrush reaches the surface of all your teeth, including the ones in the back of your mouth. Clean the top of each tooth, as well as the cheek side and tongue side of your teeth.
- Be thorough. Brushing your teeth should take between two and three minutes. Try timing yourself to reach this length of time. Be careful not to scrub your teeth too hard, however, as doing so can make your gums recede over time.
Flossing is crucial because it removes bacteria and plaque from surfaces that your toothbrush can’t reach. You should floss at least once a day. Just like brushing, it is important to do it the right way. Here’s how to floss your teeth effectively.
- Start by measuring out floss the length of your arm.
- Using your index fingers to guide the floss, slide it between each tooth and wrap it around the tooth’s base to form a ‘C.’
- Floss the tooth from root to tip about two or three times.
- Remember the teeth at the back of your mouth.
3. RINSE YOUR MOUTH WITH WATER
After consuming acidic foods or drinks, try to rinse your mouth immediately with clean water. That will help flush out the acid that can settle on your enamels.
4. CHEW SUGAR-FREE GUM
Saliva production can neutralize acidic substances left in your mouth. Chewing sugar-free gum after a meal helps pump up saliva production, which balances out the acid.
5. CONSUME FEWER ACIDIC FOODS AND DRINKS
Acid is not good for teeth. It eats through the enamel, making your teeth vulnerable to cavities, harbouring bacteria. Acid gets into our mouths by way of everyday foods and drinks. Fruits such as lemons and oranges, for example, are high in citric acid. Other highly acidic foods include tomatoes, pickles, cranberries, soda and wine. To prevent wearing down your enamel, avoid or reduce your consumption of such foods. Try to brush your teeth very well after consuming anything acidic.
6. AVOID GRINDING YOUR TEETH OR BITING HARD OBJECTS
It’s a good idea not to use your teeth to open bottles, chew on pencils or pen caps, or bite your nails. Grinding your teeth (bruxism) also puts enormous pressure on your teeth, wearing down your enamel and possibly causing toothaches. Some people grind their teeth unknowingly in their sleep. If your dentist has diagnosed you with bruxism, you can prevent complications by wearing your nightguard if they recommend one.
7. DON’T SNACK BETWEEN MEALS
Acid levels in your mouth are high for several hours after consuming sugary foods. Help maintain your dental health by avoiding high-sugar snacks, which lead to decay.
8. BE CAREFUL NOT TO OVER-BRUSH
Brushing your teeth more than twice a day may do more harm than good. Although toothpaste contains ingredients that clean your teeth, using it too often can wear them down. If you want to clean your teeth more than twice a day, consider not using toothpaste for your extra brushes.
ARE YOU LOOKING FOR A DENTIST IN LONSDALE?
If you’re concerned about tooth wear, Peak Dental Arts can help. The qualified Lonsdale dentists at our North and West Vancouver clinics will provide you with the best care and keep your dental health in check.