Dental emergencies can happen to anyone and at any time, even to those who brush and floss regularly. The truth is, even if you practice great dental hygiene, there are still some things that can increase your risk of a dental emergency. Let’s check in with your dentist in Alexandria to see the top five things that can put you at increased risk.
- Chewing Ice. Gnawing on ice may help cool you down but it’s also a good way to damage your teeth. Ice is very hard, and crunching it with your teeth can lead to cracks or chips in your enamel. Not only that, but tiny tooth fractures can occur without you even knowing it, and these small cracks provide an ideal environment for bacteria to settle in, leading to decay and cavities.
- Constant Snacking. We understand that snacking on munchies throughout the day can be comforting. However, if you don’t limit how often you snack, you’re constantly exposing your teeth to food. Why is this a concern for your dentist in Alexandria? Well, food particles feed the bacteria in our mouths, and the more we snack, the more we fuel the bacteria. As a result, these bacteria produce an acidic byproduct. The acid is then left behind, causing damage to tooth enamel and increasing the chance of decay.
- Biting Your Nails. An incredibly common yet concerning habit is nail-biting. Not only can biting your nails expose you to germs and bacteria that are hiding underneath, but it can also damage teeth and even cause some jaw problems.
- Using Teeth as Tools. Everyone has used their teeth to rip open a pesky package, pull a pen cap off, or hold something when both hands are occupied. But just because everyone has done it doesn’t mean we should. In fact, using teeth to do anything besides chew can greatly increase the chance for damage such as breaking or chipping a tooth or cutting the soft tissues in your mouth.
- Smoking. One of the greatest risks to oral health is smoking cigarettes or using other tobacco products such as cigars or chewing tobacco. These habits put you at greater risk of oral cancer and discolor your teeth or contribute to gum disease. If not treated, gum disease and oral cancer can lead to other major health problems that can affect the rest of your body. But that’s not all. Tobacco users also have a greater chance of tooth loss.
We know that breaking habits can be difficult, but your dentist in Alexandria encourages you to try your best to avoid habits that can put at increased risk of experiencing a dental emergency or other dental problems down the road. Of course, the best way to protect your smile is to visit us at least every six months.*
If you think you have a dental emergency, call your dentist.
Serving patients from Alexandria, Old Town, and Del Ray.
*At the time of publishing, the ADA has recommended the postponement of all preventive dental appointments. Please check your local recommendations.