Surprising Oral Health Risk Factors
Oral health is not just restricted to the well-being of your mouth. Your oral health directly affects other bodily functions, including your heart. While behaviors like poor oral hygiene and excessive sugar intake are well-known dangers to maintaining oral health, other surprising risk factors exist as well.
Foods that Damage Your Teeth
Some foods that help create a healthy diet, if eaten in excess, can degrade the enamel on your teeth. Primary among these are citrus fruits.
- Excessive consumption of oranges, lemons, limes and grapefruits can compromise tooth enamel, due to their high acidity. In fact, studies have found that grapefruit has as much acidity as Coca Cola.
- Another dangerous food is almonds. While almonds’ nutritional components are beneficial in many ways, the hardness you encounter when biting down on them can fracture your teeth.
- Next on the list is dried fruits. Since most of the water has been removed from dried fruit, it tends to stick to your teeth. This can create a breeding ground for plaque and dangerous bacteria.
- Finally, peanut butter, because it also sticks to teeth, can lead to increased cavities if you don’t brush your teeth quickly after eating it.
Increased Exposure to Chemicals
Did you know that habitual swimmers can develop significant tooth staining over time? If you swim at least 10 hours per week in chemically concentrated water, your teeth may develop brown stains. Some evidence is also emerging that too much exposure to chlorine also may erode tooth enamel, making teeth more prone to damage.
Excessive use of antibiotics has also been linked with permanent tooth staining and yellowing. While the damage here is mainly cosmetic, any stain-causing substance is considered detrimental rather than neutral, when it comes to your teeth.
Finally, a recent study indicates that BPA may cause white spots or streaks to develop on children’s incisors. Bisphenol A, the chemical compound known as BPA, is found in a variety of plastics, including baby bottles and food storage containers.
Other Potential Risks
Brushing your teeth is crucial for maintaining oral health and well-being. However, the type of toothbrush you use and how you brush your teeth are very important. Dentists recommend you use soft-bristle brushes, and brush in a circular rather than side-to-side motion to avoid damaging your enamel.
Also, frequent chemical whitening can cause unwanted consequences for your teeth. Some people may experience irritation and increased tooth sensitivity from this treatment. Try using a whitening toothpaste instead of chemical whitening treatments.
While no foolproof food choices or lifestyle habits can guarantee perfect oral health, reducing or eliminating risk-related behaviors will increase the quality and functionality of your teeth and oral tissues. If you live in the Salt Lake City area and are concerned about your teeth, contact Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah for an exam and consultation to evaluate your oral health.
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