Brushing, flossing and rinsing regularly are all recommended, but chances are your lifestyle choices are hurting your oral health.

Gum Disease, Periodontitis and Gingivitis are all common conditions that can stem from ‘poor’ lifestyle choices and affect your oral health.

Sometimes people are lazy, or just ignore their oral health all together, but often the first signs and symptoms of pain or discomfort can mean a trip to the dentist.

Let’s have a look at factors affecting your teeth and how to combat them.

Sugar

Sugar is the number one cause of tooth decay. Bacteria in your mouth converts sugar into acids that corrodes your teeth, over time, acids eat away at the surface of a tooth, attacking the enamel, weakening the tooth and causing decay in the form of holes or cavities.

The worst part – Sugar is in almost everything! This makes it important to read the food labels and find out the exact content of the product, you will be surprised.

The primary sugar culprits are fizzy drinks/soft drinks, sports drinks, fruit juices, energy drinks, flavoured milk and some processed foods.

As a general rule, ensure you know what you are consuming; drink soft drinks in moderation, if at all possible, drink through a straw, use fluoride toothpaste and rinse with water or mouthwash regularly.

For more information on the sugar content of your favourite drinks, visit the link below.

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Smoking

It is well documented that smoking has many negative effects on your overall health. Firstly smoking or more specifically the nicotine and tar in cigarettes can stain your teeth. Smoking can also lead to gum disease as smoking causes a buildup of bacteria. A lack of oxygen in the bloodstream restricts the ability of the gums to heal naturally.

About 90% of people with cancer of the mouth, lips, tongue, and throat use tobacco, and the risk of developing these cancers increases with the amount. Smokers are six times more likely than non-smokers to develop these cancers.

Research has found that even reducing the amount you smoke can have some positive effects on your oral health, however quitting completely is always advised.

Alcohol

We bet you didn’t want to see this one on the list, but yep, alcohol can affect your oral health and chances are if you enjoy a glass of red wine, you probably already knew that!

While moderate alcohol consumption can be part of a healthy lifestyle, alcohol is not generally considered healthy.

People who suffer from alcohol dependency tend to have higher plaque levels on their teeth and are three times as likely to suffer from permanent tooth loss.

The colour in beverages comes from chromogens which attach to the enamel of the teeth and cause them to stain, with red wine being one of the worst alcoholic beverages in regards to staining. For all you beer drinkers, beer is only marginally better!

Worst of all, most alcoholic drinks are also very high in sugar, which as we’ve learnt is the cause of tooth decay.

If you’ve ever been a little hungover the morning after a few too many red wines, you’ll notice that your mouth can feel really dry. Alcohol is notorious for drying out the mouth and without that saliva your teeth suffer; saliva keeps teeth moist and helps to remove plaque and bacteria from the tooth’s surface.

Other Bad Habits

There are a number of pesky habits that can affect your mouth, teeth and gums. Nail biting, brushing your teeth too hard, overload of acidic foods and crunching down on an ice cube could all be eating away at the enamel on your teeth.

There are plenty of nail biters out there and most do it subconsciously, constant biting can cause your teeth to move out of place or worse yet splinter. This is also the case for people who seem to think their teeth are a part of their toolkit. Perhaps it is a beer bottle party trick or just a case of laziness. Teeth predominantly have two uses, to chew food and help us speak, ripping open a bottle cap is not one of those uses!

Believe it or not research suggests crunching down on an ice cube is the equivalent to grinding and clenching during your sleep, so next time you’re enjoying a cold beverage on ice, maybe think twice about chewing on those ice cubes.

For more information on how your lifestyle could be affecting your oral health or to book an appointment contact Dental One on 13 000 66 427 (13 000 NO GAP)

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