Aside from sugar, can you name anything else that commonly harms a person’s teeth?
We’ve all heard that sugar is the cause of cavities, and it is, but sugar is far from the only culprit behind dental problems. Other substances like tobacco and conditions like excessive stress can wreak havoc on your teeth as well. Discover four common factors that prove to be the worst enemies for your teeth.
1. Tobacco – The Most Toxic Substance for Your Teeth
With all the warnings, ads, and reminders that tobacco is bad for your health, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it’s terrible for your smile as well. Whether you smoke it or chew it, tobacco is the quickest way to ruin your oral health. See how both methods of tobacco use wreak havoc on your smile:
Aside from staining your teeth and leading to life-threatening conditions such as lung cancer, tobacco affects your mouth in harmful ways. For starters, it slows your immune system, causing every problem in your mouth to take longer to heal.
The most prominent way tobacco harms your teeth is by interfering with how they connect to the gums. This factor not only makes you more susceptible to gum disease and infection but can eventually weaken your teeth and lead to tooth loss. This is also why dental implant providers like Dr. Keith Cooper will often refuse treatment to patients who are heavy smokers.
While smoking may be the most common way to consume tobacco, it’s not the only one that can harm your smile. Chewing tobacco, also known as dip or chew, provides a potent dose of nicotine by keeping it between your gums and inner-cheek. The damage to your teeth begins almost immediately, as you feel the burning sensation that is causing inflammation in and around the area.
It doesn’t take long before using chewing tobacco will leave visible sores in your mouth. These leave your mouth more prone to infection, a condition that will be heightened by your compromised immune system, which is also caused by tobacco. Chewing tobacco also causes your gums to recede and vastly increases your chances of developing the most lethal dental disease you can get, oral cancer.
2. Stress – Causing Various Ailments that Threaten Your Smile
With pressure to constantly keep up with responsibilities including work, class, families, and social lives, it’s no wonder that most Americans are overstressed. When we think of health problems that come from stress, heart attacks may be the first thing that comes to mind, but it has a profound impact on our oral health as well. Dr. Darlene Hart confirms the connection between stress and oral health problems:
“Stress plays a significant role in causing problems for your sleep and dental health.”
How Does Stress Impact Your Oral Health?
Unlike sugar or acid, stress isn’t something that gets all over your teeth to cause damage. Instead, stress causes your body to react in certain ways that can lead to dental problems such as gum disease, bruxism, and TMJ disorders, thereby damaging your oral health. While stress is also known to cause a wide range of other health issues, your smile is not exempt from its effects.
3. Sugar – The Main Ingredient in Plaque and Tooth Decay
Sugar plays a crucial role in the process that leads to cavities and decay on your teeth. The bacteria that live in your mouth feed on sugar, and when they gather together, they form plaque. This plaque can lead to infection in your gums, making sugar the cause of some of the most prevalent and preventable dental problems.
Tips for Combatting the Effects of Sugar
- Try a diet like Keto which bans sugar consumption.
- Choose sugarless foods and candies that won’t damage your teeth.
- Watch out for hidden sources of sugar that can coat your teeth.
- Buy sugar substitutes like monk fruit or Stevia.
- Brush your teeth shortly after consuming high-sugar foods.
- Chew xylitol gum – it prevents bacteria from adhering to your teeth.
4. Acid – The Unseen Element that Can Rot Your Teeth
Along with sugar, acid is found in foods and drinks, and in high concentrations, it can wreak havoc on your smile. The biggest problem when it comes to acid is acidic beverages which coat your teeth in it and corrode your enamel. These include diet soda, energy drinks, and many fruit juices, especially those that are citrus-based.
Enamel Doesn’t Grow Back
Although your tooth is a living part of your body due to the pulp and nerves inside, the enamel is its inanimate protective coat. When acids eat away at your enamel, that damage is permanent. This affects the appearance of your smile, but as the yellow part of your tooth becomes increasingly exposed, it also causes pain and sensitivity. To avoid this pain and a lifetime of expensive dental work, it’s best to minimize the acidic beverages you consume.
Avoid These Cavity Culprits for a Healthy Smile
To completely avoid stress, sugar, and acids may not be realistic. But to maintain awareness of the foods we consume and how they’re affecting our smile is, and it’s an excellent habit to develop. When you know you’re overstressed or that you’ve consumed a sugary snack, simply taking the right steps to correct the action can work wonders at keeping your smile healthy. Ultimately, understanding the things that harm your teeth is a crucial part of caring for them.