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9 Surprising Things That Can Ruin Your Smile, Part 1

We have a lot of patients who come to us for solutions to a wide range of dental problems. Unfortunately, many of them don’t realize that a lot of these problems could be prevented, saving them time, money, and pain!

As we’ve said many times, our New Albany dental office is not here to judge you. We don’t want to make you feel embarrassed or ashamed about your teeth, no matter how bad of shape you think they’re in! We believe every one of our patients has the right to a healthy, beautiful smile in a comfortable environment with a friendly, experienced staff.

Because we care—and not because we want to lecture you!—we’d like to let you know about some things that can do damage to your teeth. Avoiding these 9 things below can help keep your smile healthy and bright!

Dark Foods and Beverages

Have you ever spilled juice on your shirt and struggled to get the stain out? Well, certain dark fruit juices can stain your teeth just as much as they can stain your clothes! The same is true of red wine, coffee, tea, soda, colored beverages and candies, tomato sauces, curry sauces, and berries.

When you eat a lot of these, you’ll notice that your teeth begin to stain. That’s because many contain substances that are damaging your enamel—and carbonated soda is the real enemy because it’s full of sugar and acid!

If you want to keep your teeth bright, consider limiting these foods and drinks, drinking water directly afterward, and making sure they don’t sit in your mouth for a long time before you swallow.

Sugary Foods

You’ve always heard that sugar is bad for your teeth. Do you know why? It’s because bacteria in your mouth uses sugar that’s sitting on your teeth to create acid. This acid eats away at your teeth and causes tooth decay, or cavities.

To help prevent tooth decay, you should try to limit candy, fruit snacks, sweetened drinks, pastries and desserts, and diets high in acidic foods. You might even be surprised to find out that starchy foods like chips and pretzels can also get stuck in your teeth and contribute to tooth decay.

Opt for foods and snacks that are actually healthy for your teeth, like dairy products (cheese, milk, yogurt), fruits and veggies, especially crunchy ones, and lean proteins like chicken and fish. These contain minerals like calcium that restore the minerals your teeth are made of!

When you do indulge in sugary foods, limit the amount and the time they’re in your mouth and on your teeth, and swish some water in your mouth when you’re done eating.

Ice

Sometimes we see damage from patients who chew on ice cubes. Because ice is hard, it can crack or chip your teeth, which can cause a lot of pain or (sometimes expensive!) damage to your teeth. The same is true of hard candies and peanut brittle. And if you already have damage to your teeth, whether you know about it or not, you could be doing further damage to your smile when you chew on ice or hard candy.

If you want something cold, drink ice water or cold milk instead; if you want something else to chew on, opt for sugarless gum.

Medications

If you’re taking a prescription medication for a health condition like depression, anxiety, high blood pressure, nerve pain, or seizures, or have been taking antihistamines, pain relievers, decongestants, or muscle relaxants, you might have noticed a change in your mouth. According to the American Dental Association, more than 500 different mediations can cause you to have dry mouth, also known as xerostomia.

How does this affect your smile? Dry mouth means you have less saliva flow. And saliva
helps your mouth for two reasons: first, it contains bacteria-fighting substances, and second, it helps flush away food debris and sugar from your teeth and tongue. Take away some of your saliva, and you increase the bad bacteria and sugar that contribute to decay and gum disease.

Stopping your medication might not be an option for you, but you can speak to your prescribing physician about alternative prescriptions. You can also increase the amount of water you’re drinking, eat foods like fruits and vegetables that are high in water content, and ask us about mouthwashes and other products that can help restore the moisture in your mouth.

Also, keep coming in for regular checkups so that we can ensure your dry mouth isn’t putting you at risk for smile problems!

You can read more here from the ADA about medications that affect your smile.

Call Us Today to Keep Your Smile Healthy!

Today we talked about 4 ways to harm your smile and how to prevent the damage. Make sure you join us next time for the remaining 5 things that can harm your pearly whites—some may surprise you!

Contact us today via phone or email for an appointment to learn about healthy oral habits that will keep your teeth looking great for years to come!