Losing a tooth is a bad idea. Losing multiple teeth is even worse. Besides affecting your ability to chew and speak, your teeth preserve your appearance. Although dental implants are state-of-the-art replacements for missing teeth, nothing works as well as the originals. So here are eight ways people commonly lose teeth. If you can avoid these habits, you’ll keep your teeth far longer — maybe even for a lifetime!
1. Don’t wear a mouthguard during contact sports.
What is considered a contact sport? Any activity where an object such as an elbow, knee, ball, bat, or the ground may likely come in contact with your mouth. This includes football, basketball, hockey (of course), soccer and more. The best protection for your teeth is a mouthguard that fits perfectly and is comfortable to wear. If a mouthguard fits loosely, contact may jar it loose, leaving your teeth, gums, tongue and other tissues unprotected from both foreign objects and your own teeth! Mouthguards that fit properly are only available from dental professionals.
2. Ignore bleeding gums.
Bleeding gums are not healthy, they are not normal and they won’t just go away if you ignore them. In fact, they will just continue to get worse and lead to tooth loss. Your teeth need your gums to stay in place, so healthy gums mean healthy, long-lasting teeth. If your gums bleed when you floss or when you brush your teeth, you have gum disease and they need to be examined promptly by one of our Placerville dentists.
3. Use your teeth as tools.
Your teeth are amazing tools, but only for chewing food, talking and smiling. They are not up to the task of opening bottles, plastic containers or separating Legos. Rather than using your teeth for jobs they were not meant for, put proper tools like scissors, letter openers, screwdrivers and trash bags (for the Legos) strategically throughout the house. Take the time to use the right tool for the job, and only use your teeth to do what they are made to do.
4. Grind your teeth at night.
If your sleep partner, family member or roommate tells you that you’re grinding your teeth at night, believe them. Why would they make something like that up? Not only does teeth grinding lead to cracked or worn teeth, it can lead to painful TMJ issues and morning headaches. A custom-made nightguard is the simple answer to teeth grinding and clenching.
5. Get an oral piercing.
Metal in the mouth + movement in the mouth = worn enamel, recessed gums and cracked teeth. Besides the additional danger of infection and bacteria from an oral piercing, decorative objects are not a good idea to install in your mouth, even if they are incredibly cool looking. One in four people with a piercing crack a tooth in short order and nearly all of them suffer from gum recession wherever the piercing makes contact with jaw. Recessed gums give bacteria easier access to your roots, which leads to tooth loss, or at least a root canal.
6. Drink lots of acidic drinks and suck on sour candies.
It’s not just the sugar in these products that’s bad for your teeth, it’s the acid content, which for some super sour products reaches the strength of battery acid! If you absolutely must consume these products, limit them to one period in the day, rinse with water after eating them and wait thirty minutes to brush after consumption. All day, every day habits of acidic foods and drinks has created the term Mountain Dew Mouth. You don’t want Mountain Dew Mouth.
7. Ignore tooth pain.
Where there’s tooth pain, there’s a problem. But where there’s a problem, if caught early, there’s a solution. Are you putting up with pain because you’re afraid of going to the dentist for fear of pain? We have a solution for that! It’s called pain control and sleep dentistry. We know all the tricks to keep you happy in the dental chair and our Placerville dentists are willing to use them.
8. Don’t see your dentist.
Of all the reasons people lose a tooth, this is most likely number one. Regular dental visits for routine care, combined with quality at-home oral hygiene, is your best bet for keeping all of your teeth. Make an appointment soon with the Placerville Dental Group for a dental check-up, a cleaning or to discuss any concerns you may have. Even if you’re a hockey-playing, tongue-pierced, Mountain Dew-drinking tooth-grinder who opens cans and bottles with your teeth, we can’t wait to see you!