If you are like most people, you probably can't imagine biting into a piece of pizza or a candy bar and feeling one of your teeth chip apart. After all, since you care for those chompers, your teeth should stay healthy and strong, right? Wrong. Believe it or not, tooth fractures are currently the third leading cause of tooth loss amongst industrialized nations—and teeth are breaking in record numbers. If you want to avoid dental fractures of your own, stop doing these two things right away:
1: Using Your Teeth Like A Pocketknife
After buying a few new clothing items, you might be too excited to try on those new shoes or check out that shirt to look around your house for a pair of scissors. Instead of carefully removing the sturdy anti-theft tags and plastic ties with the right tools, you might try to bite through that plastic cord or rip that fabric tag away with your teeth. Unfortunately, using your teeth like a pocketknife can cause dental fractures in a hurry.
If you feel like a sudden tooth fracture would be unlikely, you might be right—sort of. Although your teeth can break anytime they are subjected to excessive force, most fractures are the result of tiny micro-cracks that have occurred because of previous abuse. For example, if your front incisor breaks off when you bite through that plastic tag, it might be because this isn't your first time being impatient to try on clothes. Teeth are just like any other structure. When they are abused, they can develop weak spots and small fault lines. If you continue to abuse your teeth, they will eventually break. It might not be today, but you shouldn't rule it out in the future.
To avoid dental fractures, stop using your teeth like a pocketknife. Keep tools such as scissors, pliers, and letter openers handy in case you need to pop open a package, remove a tag, or pry open a lid. Keep a multi-tool or a pocketknife in your car in case you have to open things on the go. It might seem like a hassle, but it could keep your smile pristine.
2: Chewing Ice
On a hot summer's day, you might feel like quenching your thirst and cooling down at the same time by munching on ice after you finish your beverage. After all, since that ice is pebbled and naturally calorie-free, what harm could it do? Although it might seem like a harmless pastime, it's the temperature changes involved with chewing ice that are the real source of the problem.
When you chew ice, your teeth are subjected to a constant hot and cold cycle that can be hard on your dental enamel. The freezing cold ice chills your teeth, and then your teeth are promptly heated by your natural body temperature in between bites. This cycle can actually create tiny cracks in the surface of your dental enamel, eventually causing full-scale tooth fractures. Believe it or not, chewing ice can also cause these dental problems:
- Gum Damage: That ice might seem innocent, but if you were able to look at it under a high-powered microscope, you might discover sharp edges and long, thin fragments. Broken ice can impale your gums, leading to tissue erosion, bleeding, and even infections.
- Dental Work: When you chew ice, it can also wreak havoc on previous dental work. Fillings, dental crowns, and partial bridges can expand and contract when you chew ice, making the structures brittle.
If you know that you might be tempted to chew ice, request a straw with your beverage or ask your waiter to remove your glass as soon as you have finished your drink.
By knowing how to avoid dental fractures, you might be able to keep your teeth healthy and strong—and avoid emergency trips to your dental office. Though, if you do have a dental emergency, don't hesitate to reach out to a local professional, such as Hernandez Dental.