The New Year is a time for resolutions. Lose weight. Get in shape. Travel more. Grow a beard (wait, that’s only for Boston Red Sox pitchers). Save more money.
Funny, but dental resolutions don’t seem to make the list. That’s too bad because we put our trusty teeth through some unnecessary stresses and punishment through some seriously bad habits and bad choices.
Dr. Fong would like to see his patients resolve to ditch this stuff for 2019.
- Grinding your teeth — Life can be stressful, and we take it out on our teeth by grinding them at night while we’re dreaming about killing our boss. This behavior is called bruxism, and you are actually grinding your teeth down when you do it. The problem is that most people who grind don’t realize they do it, unless they wake up with very sore jaws. Dr. Fong can see the signs and get you into a mouthguard to wear at night.
- Chewing ice — While ice may be sugar-free and no-cal, that doesn’t mean you should be munching on it. Chewing ice can chip or crack your teeth. It also irritates the soft tissue inside the tooth, causing toothaches.
- Sodas — People are cutting down on soda consumption, but for the wrong reasons. Well, not all wrong. It’s obvious the sugars can lead to dental decay, but they also contain phosphoric and citric acids. These are corrosives that eat away at the enamel protecting your teeth.
- Your teeth, the opener — Everyone knows someone who takes great pride in opening bottles with their teeth. While this is an interesting parlor trick, you’re best to leave it to that person. Opening a beer bottle with your teeth is the quickest way to crack them.
- Bottle in the crib — Leaving a bottle with your baby at night is doubly weak. It’s a weak way to avoid the full-on feeding, and it’s bad for the child. The tot may fall asleep with the bottle in his or her mouth, bathing the teeth in sugars overnight. Feed them before bed and they will calm down.
- Fruit juice — Skip the juice “beverage” and opt for fruit juices that are 100% juice. No Hawaiian Punch or Hi C, OK! Why? Because there is often as much sugar in these pseudo-juices as in soda. Once you read the label you’ll see that these “juices” have all of around 10% juice content. Plus, in certain juices, the acidity is pretty high.
- Snack-o-rama — What’s the big deal eating a few Red Vines followed by a pretzel or two? Well, when you eat a regular meal, your mouth understands it needs to get with saliva production to help eliminate and break down residual particles. But when you snack for brief periods, you don’t produce saliva in the same way. The lack of saliva when you eat a snack means that food bits can stay in your teeth for hours. If you need a snack, opt for something low in sugar and starch, like carrots.
- Cigarette smoking — This one’s a no brainer. Cigarettes stain your teeth and lead to gum disease. As if that weren’t enough, tobacco also leads to cancer of the mouth, lips, and tongue. And it’s so 1960. Leave them to Don Draper.
Wow, that’s a long list of stuff to give up for the New Year. But your teeth will love you for it, and that’s a good thing. Is it time for your next professional cleaning and exam with Dr. Fong? Call us at (714) 549-1903 to make your appointment.