This article was originally written by Cathy Gates
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There’s more to keeping you pearly whites precisely that than a bit of brushing and the odd visit to a dentist. Take a look at these dental dos and don’ts.
#1 Avoid Fizzy Drinks
Carbonated drinks (including the diet variety and sparkling water) can cause your teeth to look older than they really are. These drinks are so highly acidic that they can actually dissolve the upper layers of the tooth. They contain high amounts of phosphorus – a mineral that can leach calcium from your bones if you consume too much and some scientists believe they can weaken your jawbone, increasing the chance of losing teeth.
Some researchers believe calcium is first robbed not from your hips or spine but from your jaw, leading to tooth loss. We see a number of young people who have the jaws of much older people, because of poor dietary habits such as drinking soda, along with not getting enough calcium.
#2 Chew your Food
Foods that work on the teeth like detergents are foods that require chewing. Apples, celery and carrots clean teeth naturally and foods such a spinach, lettuce and broccoli prevent staining by creating a film on the teeth that acts like a barrier. Major strainers will take their toll on your smile sooner of later, so steer clear of tea, coffee, red wine, and highly pigmented foods such as cherries and blueberries anything in fact, that will stain a white shirt.
#3 Don’t take Drugs
Ecstasy causes jaw clenching in users. A study found that 60 per cent of ecstasy users examined had worn their teeth through the enamel and into the underlying dentine, compared with only 11 per cent of non-users. As for cocaine rubbed on gums, it restricts blood flow, traumatizes the tissue and inhibits nutrition of the gums. Remember gums keep teeth in place.
#4 Quit Smoking
Smoking causes staining of the teeth and bad breath and increases the risk of oral cancer and gum disease, as it constricts blood flow to the gums. In fact, some gum specialists feel it’s not worth providing advanced treatment for gum disease in smokers, as there is very little chance of improvement. Smoking one pack a day for 10 years can cause a 10 per cent loss of bone support. Long term studies reveal that most tooth loss in 19 to 40 year olds is associated with smoking more than 15 cigarettes a day.
#5 Beware Bleaching
A professionally applied whitening system will not damage teeth. But some over the counter bleaches are so acidic; they can cause surface loss and sensitivity.
#6 Stop Biting Nails
Habitual nail chewers damage more than their cuticles; they can damage their teeth, too. If you have weakened enamel, you end up with an exposed, dented, soft area in the center of the tooth. And that’s when the problem occurs. The denting is much softer than the enamel and if exposed to bad habits such as chewing nails, opening beer bottles, it will wear down. Often the middle part dissolves quicker than the outside and the brittle enamel is very prone to chipping, making the teeth look uneven and unattractive.