We all know (or should know) the minimal rules of a well-maintained oral health: brush correctly, floss, visit your dentist twice a year. However, while we do follow this minimal set of good oral behavior, many of our daily bad habits lead to the formation of plaque – which in turns leads to tooth decay, tooth loss and other dental serious illnesses.
Plaque is that sticky, colorless pelicule of bacteria that forms on teeth, making them feel fuzzy. It is most visible when we don’t brush our teeth and, by all intents and purposes, it is a true slimy lair of bacteria and the substances they produce. If left untreated this biofilm leads to the damage of tooth enamel, cavity formations, gum diseases, formation of tartar or calculus on the teeth, bad breath and many other dental health disorders. While you can try some reliable halitosis cure methods, ending up on the dentist’s chair to fix cavities and infections just because you indulge in your bad habits is not like a walk in the park. Let’s see today the most common five bad habits that lead to tooth plaque.
1. Poor Oral Hygiene
Forgetting to brush at least twice a day, poor brushing habits, forgetting to floss and skipping your dental visits lead in time to the formation of plaque which can lead to the more dangerous problems mentioned above. Don’t allow plaque to proliferate and become something more health threatening! Brush at least once in the morning and once in the evening and floss daily. Plaque proliferates also in between the teeth and without flossing, you risk more severe damages. Bad brushing is also an encouraging factor for plaque thriving. Brush for the recommended 2 minutes, don’t skin the side of the teeth and the tongue, brush as close as possible to the gums’ line and make sure you reach the teeth in the back.
2. You Eat Junk Food
Sugar and starches are the number one type of foods that contain carbohydrates and leave traces and particulates on your teeth. Cakes, candy, milk and dairy products, sodas, and soft drinks entertain the thriving of bacteria. The bacteria in turn produce acid. In time and with the improper oral health care, these acids lead to the formation of plaque and tooth decay, rotting away the enamel. What few people know is that plaque can also thrive on the tooth roots under the gums thus causing breakdowns of the bones supporting the teeth. If you have such snacks in between your meals, brush your teeth, floss and use antibacterial rinse so you can keep the bacteria causing plaque and gum disease to a minimum.
Now smoking is a general health problem which unfortunately begins in your mouth. Prolonged smoking leads to plaque build-up, yellow and stained teeth, tooth decay, discolorations, gum diseases, tooth loss, serious cases of bad breath, sore and dry mouth and tongue, and even tongue and cheeks sores and diseases. Of course, smoking can also be a contributing factor to oral cancer and mouth skin / lips irritations or skin conditions (rashes, sores etc.).
Quitting smoking isn’t a walk in the park either and it needs plenty of will and support. Many times it can also require medical and psychological support – but it would be for your own good. In case you can’t quit smoking yet, try brushing your teeth and use antibacterial mouth rinse every chance you get during the day.
4. Your Daily Cups of Java
Your morning coffee might be the only thing to actually wake you up for a new day, but the rest of the coffee cups you pour during work hours or in the evening aren’t as beneficial for your teeth as they might be for you. In fact, since we are here talking about caffeine, what you should know is that too much intake of your daily fuel might actually make you feel exhausted and fatigued due to its rebound effects.
Back to the teeth, coffee does stain your teeth almost immediately and leads up to their over-time yellowing. Of course, being slightly acidic itself, it also entertains the formation of plaque. But while you can still brush and floss in the morning after you had your first coffee cup, it is harder to cut down its effects on your teeth during the work day. Coffee leaves your mouth dry and if you love it with some cream and sugar, well… remember what we said earlier about too much sugar? Cavities and tooth decay, together with tartar are the most probable negative side effects. While the first mug of coffee is acceptable, try replacing the next cups with tea or sugarless natural fruit juices – and use mouth rinse to clear off bacteria in case you can’t brush at the office.
5. Drinking Wine
A glass of red (and natural, high-quality) wine is actually healthy for your heart and circulatory system, but bad for your teeth. Red wines stain your teeth immediately and cause them to yellow. Also, being acidic, they do entertain plaque. The chromogens in the wine (active pigments in red wine) have immediate staining effects. The pigments will set on the tooth enamel as it is not smooth. In order to avoid that, brush and floss the teeth before drinking the wine and try to take a sip of water in between two sips of wine. After you finished dinner or the glass, brush again or use mouth rinse to prevent bacteria from thriving (if you are in a restaurant for instance).
These are just a few bad habits that entertain plaque and its subsequent oral health issues. If you can’t get rid of them altogether, at least don’t skip your dental appointments and follow your doctor’s orders.