Poor oral hygiene is a problem that affects countless people all over the world. However, recent data suggests that it may be affecting Australia in a more significant way than many people realised. The problem costs patients and providers alike an estimated $8.7 billion per year.
When it comes to your oral health, seemingly innocent decisions can have large permanent effects. Teeth-destroying habits aren’t always obvious, but that doesn’t make their consequences any less severe.
Case in point: there are three common things that you probably do every single day, or at least on a regular basis, that are likely ruining your teeth, even if you don’t realise it.
Eating These Teeth-Damaging Foods
Many of the food we eat every day can damage your teeth. It can cause plaque, which contributes to gum problems and tooth decay. Eating sweet foods can complicate the problem further as it can destroy your tooth’s enamel, causing cavities.
So the next time you’re invited over to a birthday party, remember to at least eat these foods in moderation:
- Ice (chewing ice — or any hard substance — can damage the enamel)
- Oranges, grapefruits, lemons
- Dried fruits (they get pushed into the crevices of the teeth)
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Opening Your Bottle with Your Teeth
Another common habit involves using your teeth for anything other than for eating. If you’ve ever seen someone open a bottle with their teeth or tear open an envelope or some other type of packaging, they’re not necessarily coming out unscathed.
This can cause both internal and external damage to your teeth if you’re not careful, and unfortunately, most people aren’t.
Although using your teeth to open something may be convenient, it’s a risk that you do not want to take. Spare a few extra seconds to get a bottle opener in the kitchen or to get that letter opener in your desk drawer. Your teeth will thank you for it.
Brushing Your Teeth Incorrectly
Finally, one of the most common teeth-destroying habits to be aware of is also, thankfully, one of the most avoidable. Most people are not aware that there’s a correct and incorrect way of brushing the teeth.
Many people don’t realise that overbrushing your teeth is often just as risky to your oral health as not brushing at all. The same can be true of brushing too hard, which is harmful to your gums.
Even brushing your teeth in the wrong direction will cost you. Remember, you’re trying to get food out of your mouth, not push it further in, so your technique should absolutely reflect that moving forward.
So what’s the right way of brushing your teeth?
Colgate suggests the following way to make sure your teeth is clean.
- Tilt the brush at a 45-degree angle
- Use short strokes and do it in a gentle manner.
- Brush the outer surface of your upper teeth, followed by the lower teeth
- Then brush the inner surfaces
- Next, brush the chewing surfaces
- Don’t forget to brush the tongue
- Don’t forget to clean the hard-to-reach areas in your mouth as well
Facts About Oral Hygiene Issues in Australia
How many young children experience tooth decay in their primary teeth?
Approximately 42% of all kids between the ages of five and ten have experienced some level of tooth decay in their primary teeth in Australia.
How many adults in the nation go with untreated tooth decay every year?
Three out of every ten Australian adults between the ages of 25 and 44 have some level of untreated tooth decay or other oral health issue.
How many Aussies suffer from a loss of natural teeth?
One out of every 25 Australians over the age of 15 have no natural teeth at all.
The Importance of Oral Health
In the end, oral health is more than just about taking care of your teeth. Experts agree that poor oral health is directly linked to your chances of developing a number of different diseases and conditions including endocarditis, cardiovascular disease, and more.
There is quality research that suggests that your likelihood of having a stroke or developing clogged arteries is very closely related to the types of inflammation and infections that tartar and oral bacteria bring with them.
Conditions like periodontitis have even been linked to premature birth and low birth weights.
To make sure your teeth are healthy, always brush your teeth at least two times a day with a toothpaste containing fluoride. You should also replace your toothbrush every three to four months (or more frequently, depending on its current condition).
Avoid using tobacco, and make flossing at least once a day a high priority.
Likewise, if you find yourself guilty of any of the three major teeth-destroying habits outlined above, you need to break them as soon as possible.
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Finally, make regular appointments to have your teeth checked by a qualified professional so that you can fix small problems now before they have a chance to become much bigger.
If you’d like to find out more information about habits that are ruining your teeth, or if you just want to book your next appointment with a dental professional, please don’t delay — click here to find an affordable dentist near you.