Managing a good oral hygiene routine is definitely not an easy task — in fact, it’s estimated that about 92% of adults, ages 20 to 64, have cavities in their permanent teeth, that about 23% of adults in the U.S. have untreated cavities in their permanent teeth, and that millions of Americans suffer from things like bruxism (teeth grinding) or a lack of flossing. Ultimately, all of this adds up to prove one thing: if you’re having trouble with dental hygiene, you aren’t alone at all.
One of the biggest factors influencing your dental health is the state of the enamel on your teeth. Tooth enamel is the outer covering that protects your teeth, and it’s actually the hardest natural surface in the human body. Unfortunately, there are tons of ways that you could wear down your tooth enamel without even realizing it, and without realizing how much it affects your overall dental hygiene.
That being said, here are a few things to avoid if you want to make sure that you’re protecting your tooth enamel as much as possible:
- Brushing your teeth too vigorously and/or too often. It may sound a bit comical, but if you brush your teeth incessantly or brush with hard-bristled toothbrushes all the time, you’re likely to wear away some of the enamel on your teeth. If you don’t feel like you’re getting your teeth clean enough with a soft-bristled brush, it’s always a good idea to supplement your cleaning routine with flossing!
- Eating too many sugary or acidic foods. The American Dental Association estimates that it only takes about 20 minutes after consuming food or drinks for bacteria to start spreading to your teeth and dissolving the enamel. Sugary foods are particularly vicious on tooth enamel, and foods with high amounts of acid (like lemons or grapefruits) can also harm your teeth if you consume them too often.
- Using too many over-the-counter whitening products. Although most tooth whitening products sold in your local pharmacy are safe to use without a dentist’s supervision, you can really do some damage to your teeth if you constantly use these products to get a whiter smile. If you do find that these products are effective on your teeth, make sure that you regularly see your dentist for checkups so he/she can make sure that none of the whitening chemicals are hurting your teeth.
Ultimately, it’s important to remember that seeing your dentist regularly is the best way to ensure better dental hygiene — but developing positive habits outside of the dentist’s office is important too. Get more here.