Five Unexpected Ways You’re Ruining Your Teeth

ruining your teethYou know the things that can cause cavities, right? Sugar, soda and bad oral hygiene to name a few. But there are some other things that you probably never realized could be ruining your teeth. Here are 5 unexpected culprits and how to stop them from hurting your smile.

Cardio – Long cardio workouts can be hurting your teeth. Research has compared the oral health of endurance athletes with those who don’t exercise and found that the athletes were more likely to have tooth erosion. This is because exercise reduces your saliva.  Saliva is what nurtures your teeth and neutralizes the acids that can cause them to wear and rot.

What can you do? Try brushing before you exercise and rinsing your mouth with water.  This will help keep the decay causing bacteria at bay. You can also try chewing sugar free gum while you workout to boost your saliva production.

Weight lifting – It is a natural tendency to clench your jaw when you strain as you lift weights. But all that pressure on your teeth can wear them down or even cause them to crack.  This may lead to persistent pain in your jaw.

What can you do? Consider wearing a mouth guard in the gym. Inexpensive mouth guards are effective and easy to find at most stores, or you can have your dentist make you a custom one that will fit your mouth the best.

Medications – There are many types of medications that can cause dry mouth.  Medicines for allergies, depression, heart health, blood pressure and more. Dry mouth may not seem like a major side effect but it can damage your teeth.  This is because, as mentioned above, decreased saliva means decreased protection from the bacteria on your teeth.

What can you do? Chew on sugar free gum or suck on sugar free hard candy throughout the day to help stimulate saliva production. Stay away from sugary and acidic foods that encourage decay.

Heartburn – Besides feeling the uncomfortable pains in your chest caused by heartburn is not fun.  But acid reflux can do permanent damage to your teeth as well. The acid from your digestive system winds up in your mouth which can lead to erosion.

What can you do? Talk to your doctor or dentist about how to treat your heartburn.  Sometimes a prescription medication may be the solution.

Meal Time Brushing – Brushing right after eating acidic foods, such as juice, fruit, sports drinks, wine and soda, can weaken enamel and lead to erosion. It can also lead to yellowing of the teeth as well as cracks and chips.

What can you do? Swish with water to rinse away the acid from these foods and then wait 40 minutes for the calcium in your saliva to remineralize.  Then you can brush.

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