A pretty smile lights up a room and opens doors. A less than beautiful smile can cause us to feel embarrassed, and make us want to hide our not-so-pearly whites. While there are tooth whitening tooth pastes and products galore, they can be expensive, and as is the case with most things, and ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
So, what are some things that can ruin your smile? You might be surprised at some of the things on the list, and not so much by others. Here is a look at ten things that can wreak havoc with your teeth, and your dazzling smile.
1. Bottled Water– Many of us eschew tap water in favor of bottled water, thinking that we are doing ourselves, and our bodies, a favor. In Maine, where I recently moved from, the drinking water was awful and because of that, no one drank anything but bottled water. Upon moving back to Montana, I was excited by the thought of good tap water, but found that everyone now has their water delivered. I have not joined that trend, and I think now that I won’t. Bottled water contains little, if any, fluoride, and good, old, tap water is generally fluoridated in most areas. Fluoride helps teeth to resist decay, and to repair decay in its very early stages, so ditch the bottled water and drink from the tap.
2. Sports Drinks– Sports drinks have become very popular, not just for athletes, but for kids and adults alike. Sports drinks may taste good, and we think that they are doing something good for us, but the reality is that sports drinks are very acidic, and because of their pH levels, they promote tooth erosion and weakening of the tooth structure and enamel. Also, most are very high in sugar, which can lead to tooth decay.
3. Diabetes– If you are diabetic, because of your already weakened immune system, you are at risk for all manners of periodontal disease. Excellent brushing and flossing habits are essential for diabetics, as is careful monitoring of blood sugar levels. Studies show that people with diabetes may actually be able to reduce the amount of insulin that they need by taking good care of their teeth and gums.
4. Smoking– This comes as little surprise. Smoking causes tooth discoloration, but it can also do worse, leading to potentially mouth cancers. At the same time, the sticky tar in cigarettes clings to teeth which causes a quicker build up of bacteria that may cause tooth decay and gum disease. Time to quit for so many reasons.
5. Wine– People tend to think that it is red wine that is the culprit behind tooth problems because red wine can stain teeth. While that is true, all wines, both red and white, are very acidic, and acidic things erode the tooth’s enamel, which leaves teeth prone to decay.
6. Pregnancy– When a woman is pregnant, she needs to take especially good care of her teeth and gums. Because of all of the hormonal changes that go along with pregnancy, gum disease and inflammation are at increased risk for occurring, Studies show that gum disease during pregnancy can lead to premature birth, and low birth weight babies.
7. Tooth Grinding– Tooth grinding, or bruxism, can occur during the day when stressed, or you might grind your teeth while you sleep. Tooth grinding wears down the tooth surface, and may even lead to chipping. Look into ways to reduce your stress load, and if you are a nighttime tooth grinder, see your dentist to be fitted for a mouth guard.
8. Dry Mouth– Many types of medications cause people to have a chronic dry mouth. I am one of those dry mouth people. A dry mouth, aside from being annoying, can lead to chronic bad breath, and because sufficient saliva is not present to wash away tooth decay causing bacteria, cavities can result. If you have a dry mouth, drink a lot of water. I never go anywhere without a beverage. Sip on a drink frequently, chew sugarless gum, and use a fluoride mouth rinse daily to prevent cavities.
9. Puberty– Because of all of the hormonal changes that happen to both boys and girls at the time of puberty, gum tissue may become swollen, and inflammation and gum disease can become a problem. Puberty is an excellent time to vamp up brushing and flossing, and make them life long habits.
10. Dieting– Whether you are dieting to lose weight, or you just eat an overall poor diet, you may be robbing your body of essential nutrients that promote not just tooth and gum health, but a healthy body. A poor diet can put your immune system at risk, which can lead to gum disease among other problems. Make it a goal to eat better, and take a multivitamin.
Of course, coffee and tea are on the list, too. They both discolor teeth, and contain tannins that can make teeth sticky and prone to grabbing other stains, so if you are a heavy coffee drinker, cut back. Healthy teeth and gums do more than make for a lovely smile. Tooth and gum disease has been linked to an increase in heart disease, and inflammation throughout the body. Brushing and flossing, along with some simple lifestyle changes, can go a very long way to keep your smile pretty, and keep you healthy.
20 Things That Can Ruin Your Smile