Healthy, beautiful teeth show off your attention to detail, while simultaneously making it easier to be confident in social situations. Unfortunately, even simple missteps could leave you with severe dental damage. Here are three dental care mistakes you may have already made today and how to change your ways to protect your teeth.
1. Acting As Your Own Dentist
These days, you can find information on how to do just about anything online, including taking care of dental discoloration, ease cavity pain, or even straightening your own teeth. Unfortunately, acting as your own dentist can be just as painful as it is dangerous, since it could leave you with issues ranging from infections to tooth death.
For instance, while it is true that at-home solutions for dental decay could help to relieve the pain, a little discomfort is actually a helpful sign that you should visit your dentist as soon as possible. Larger at-home repairs, such as trying to pull together your teeth with rubber bands, could put too much pressure on the periodontal ligament, putting your entire tooth at risk.
To stay on the safe side, focus on basic at-home dental hygiene, and leave the large-scale repairs and restorations to your dentist. Always notify your dental office if you start experiencing new dental symptoms, such as tooth pain, inflamed gum tissue, or ongoing bad breath. The early signs of periodontal disease are easy for people to miss, but overlooking problems or trying to fix them yourself could jeopardize your health.
2. Using Teeth Like a Pair of Scissors
Whether you need to open a package or tear the tag off a new dress, you might be tempted to try to snip it with your front teeth instead of trekking all the way to your kitchen drawer to retrieve a pair of scissors. Unfortunately, using your teeth like a pocketknife can have dire consequences, including chipped teeth and severe dental fractures.
Since you never really know when that plastic bag will tear open or that tag will snap, you might find yourself applying more pressure than you need to or having the tag snap when you least expect it. If your jaws close suddenly, you might find yourself with a new dental chip or worse — a deep crack that runs the length of your teeth.
Tooth concussions can also cause the tooth to bleed internally, which can cause severe intrinsic discoloration. Occasionally, teeth damaged in this manner even need endodontic therapy to preserve the structure of the tooth, which is why having a pair of scissors handy can really pay off.
The next time you are tempted to cut a tag off with your teeth, remember the dangers, and wait until you have a proper pair of scissors that can do the job safely. To make things easier, consider keeping a pocket knife on your car keys or inside of your glove compartment.
3. Brushing Too Soon After a Meal
Since teeth can feel dirty after a meal, you might be ready to head to the bathroom, whip out your travel toothbrush, and brush that grime away. Unfortunately, brushing your teeth immediately following meals can actually damage your teeth, since enamel softens slightly after you start eating.
As soon as you take a bite of food, the acidity in your mouth changes. These acid attacks last as long as 20 minutes after you eat, until your saliva neutralizes the pH of your mouth. If you need to brush after a meal, wait at least half an hour to prevent enamel erosion.
Professional dental care is an important part of keeping your teeth healthy, which is why you should make an appointment with us here at Heiden Dental Office. With a commitment to better patient care and a focus on conservative, preventive dentistry, Dr. Larry Heiden can help you to enjoy a healthier, more comfortable smile. Schedule your next checkup today, and find out why so many of our customers have been coming to us for years.