Everything begins in the mind, including habits. It happens when our behaviour goes into autopilot mode, and the decision-making part of our brains enters into a kind of default mode— which means less brainpower is needed to carry out an activity. Meanwhile, bad habits can potentially put your life at risk if you don’t break the unhealthy loop. At our clinic, we have patients who encounter dental problems caused by daily “harmless” habits which they’re not even aware of. So here are 7 common everyday habits that could be ruining your teeth:

Habit #1 Mouth breathing

baby-s-sleeping-on-a-man-s-shoulder

Habit #1 Mouth breathing

This habit affects at least 6 out of 10 children and adults, and it’s associated with dry mouth and dry lips. Now that wearing a mask is a must when we’re out in public, for those who are not used to it, you may find yourself starting to breathe through the mouth more than ever. When your mouth gets dry, the lack of saliva can result in a higher risk of tooth decay.

Meanwhile, mouth breathing in children is quite alarming as it affects the growth and development of the jaw, and this leads to crooked teeth. What’s more, if it’s left untreated for extended periods of time, it can set the stage for other health problems. Some signs of mouth breathing you can look out for are sleeping with the mouth open, the habit of drooling and snoring, and nighttime teeth grinding (look at habit #5).

Habit #2 Drinking soft drinks

habit-two-coco-colo

Habit #2 Drinking soft drinks

Soft drinks can be addictive and are also very harmful to our health. From diabetes to heart disease, you should really think twice before downing your next can of soft drink. Furthermore, the acids in these sugar-loaded drinks will wear away the enamel that is supposed to protect your precious teeth. As a result, it does not only change the appearance of your teeth, but also opens the door for bacteria which can cause cavities and infections. If you really cannot resist it, try drinking with a straw and then follow up with a water rinse.

Habit #3 Chewing on ice

The-wet-icy-cold

Habit #3 Chewing on ice

The best company on a hot and humid day—ice. In fact, some weight loss articles even promote ice munching as a healthier, zero-calorie “snack replacement”. From our standpoint, however, chewing on ice can damage your tooth enamel, and you may even risk cracking and chipping your teeth. Eventually, you may also find yourself extremely sensitive to the different temperature of food and drinks, which is not something you want to experience.

Habit #4 Using teeth as openers

Coast Dental Opening bottle

Habit #4 Using teeth as openers

Can’t find a blade/scissors/bottle opener? Use anything but your teeth. You only have a set of permanent teeth so please treat it kindly. When you use your teeth as openers, you run the risk of chipping your teeth, cutting your gums, tongue, or lips, among others. It’s really not worth it.

Habit #5 Grinding & clenching your teeth

An-angry-shirtless-boy

Habit #5 Grinding & clenching your teeth

Teeth grinding and clenching is a condition known as ‘bruxism’, and it usually occurs while you’re asleep. Here are some signs that you could be unconsciously grinding your teeth:

  • Wear marks in your teeth
  • Gum recession
  • Chipping of teeth
  • Sensitive teeth

While bruxism is a common condition, heavy grinding may result in teeth aching and loosening, teeth wear, and exposing the dentin (the layer under enamel) which increases the risks of sensitivity, decay, and discolouration. In fact, nighttime grinding can also be a cause for constant headaches, neck and shoulder aches, and tired jaw muscles. Imagine working out in the gym 7 days a week without giving your muscles a rest, and then keep doing it week after week, year after year. But this is where we step in—our dentists are able to spot the signs of your grinding habits during your check-up.

If you noticed your child has bruxism, there are usually 2 views on this: 1) It’s a natural development of synaptic pruning that occurs in the basal ganglia, typically among kids between age 3 to 10. Put it simply, it’s the natural rewiring of the brain; 2) It can be due to the lack of space in the jaw, resulting in tongue partially obstructing the airway. And this brings back habit #1.

Habit #6 Brushing too hard
or not brushing at all

Washing-teeth

Habit #6 Brushing too hard
or not brushing at all

It may appear that brushing your teeth harder with stiffer bristles will help remove plaque and stains off your teeth better. On the contrary, aggressively brushing your teeth can wear down and damage both your gums and teeth in the long run. So always remember to brush in gentle circular motions, and the ideal toothbrush for most people is one with a small head and medium-to-soft bristles. We also encourage simple massaging of the gums to gently remove plaque and this will keep your gums healthy too.

As for people who skip toothbrushing every now and then, the effects are more than just bad breath and a few cavities. Your mouth is the gateway to your body. This means that the health of your mouth can also affect your overall health.

Habit #7 Not going for dental check-ups regularly

Habit-7

In general, you should be visiting your dentist at least twice a year to ensure optimum oral and dental health. When you’re proactive, we’re able to help catch any potential issues early and offer you the best solution before it turns into a serious problem. Also, with regular checking and cleaning, you will grow more comfortable with these sessions as there’s less inflammation of the gums!

If you’re due for a dental check-up, come book an appointment with us!

Have a specific topic that you would like us to talk about? Just let us know!

It is perfectly normal for you to want a bright and white smile like a celebrity to boost your self-confidence.  Our teeth naturally become darker and yellowish as we age especially together with  lifestyle habits such as drinking coffee, tea, coke, red wine and smoking, which will result in more dull and yellowish discoloured teeth.

Porcelain  veneers, composite veneers, dental implants and whitening are some of the current options available to improve the colour and cosmetics of a smile. Teeth whitening is the most simple and least invasive procedure, and it is proven to be safe and an effective way to brighten up stained and discoloured teeth.

Can all teeth be whitened?

Teeth whitening CAN cover up the stains and discolouration from the followings Teeth whitening CANNOT whiten the discolouration from the followings
  • Food and drinks (Coffee, tea, red wines)
  • Tobacco
  • Natural ageing
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Dental restorations; fillings, crowns and bridges
  • As a result of Injury or trauma
  • As a side effect of health condition or medication (genetic disorder of enamel)

It is important to have healthy gums and teeth prior to whitening treatment. Therefore, it is crucial to have a full dental examination beforehand to check for any tooth decay, any leaking/faulty fillings or gum disease. If we detect any underlying problems causing your teeth to be darkened, this has to be treated beforehand.

Who is eligible?

Teeth whitening is not recommended for people under 16 years of age or women who are pregnant or lactating. Nonetheless, It is considered to be a safe treatment when it is carried out by a professional dentist.

The side effects of teeth whitening are minimal. These include temporary sensitivity to the teeth and possible irritation to the gums or lips. All these side effects disappear after a few days and topical creams are available to reduce these side effects if needed. It is known that these risks can be reduced considerably when you choose professional whitening (as opposed to commercially available kits) and follow your dentist’s instructions.

How long does teeth whitening last for?

Teeth whitening is not a permanent treatment but to keep your teeth white for longer it is recommended that;

  1. To avoid or reduce sources of stains such as coffee, tea, red wine and tobacco
  2. To keep good oral hygiene by every 6 month regular check up
  3. To use of take home whitening tray & gel

To find out if you are eligible for tooth whitening, please make an appointment with us. You can call us at +65 64404605 or email us at info@coastdental.com.sg  to make a no obligation consultation where your dentist will explain the different whitening options we offer and can answer any questions you have about teeth whitening cost and risks.

– Written by Dr Eunji Park