In today’s age of social media, the way that your teeth look is more important than ever before. It seems as if everyone is sporting perfect rows of pearly white teeth, showing them off with every smiling opportunity they can.
Your teeth, however, are actually a lot more sensitive to your environment than you might think. What’s more, some of your “healthier” habits can be among the worse offenders for denying you the smile that you want.
A lot of the problems that people have with their teeth begin in childhood, even before adult teeth come through. Things like thumb-sucking or mouth breathing can alter the structure of the jaw, leading to problems with goofiness, underbite, overbite and a variety of other issues. The stressors placed on baby teeth can affect the adult teeth lurking in the gums, altering the way that they later come through.
But it’s not just children who need to be careful: adults do too. It turns out that older people’s teeth are also profoundly affected by what they do with their mouths. Take a look at these habits you think are harmless but could be having a detrimental impact on the way your teeth look and how healthy they are.
Acne is a big problem that affects millions of women all over the world. It’s particularly problematic in western countries where diet and lifestyle make it more prevalent. Researchers believe that excessive consumption of dairy products leads to the development of inflammation in the skin, providing an environment in which cysts can thrive.
Taking acne medication long-term, however, can have a damaging effect on your teeth.
Hold on: taking antibiotics can alter the appearance of your teeth? How?
It turns out that a specific type of anti-acne medication called tetracyclines have the unfortunate side effect of changing the colour of the teeth. Worse still, they alter the appearance of teeth from the inside out!
These drugs change the colour of the dentin – the semi-solid material that sits underneath the hard enamel of the teeth. If you have thin enamel or use these antibiotics for a long time, it can cause your teeth to take on a greyish appearance. And because the greying occurs on the inside of the tooth, no amount of whitening or brushing will do anything about it. If you have grey teeth, you’re stuck!
Fortunately, there are things that you can do if your teeth look a little grey and you’d like them to be whiter. Your dentist, for instance, can cover the affected tooth with a thin veneer that creates the white appearance, blocking the view of the discoloured dentin below.
The best way to prevent greying teeth from tetracyclines is to avoid having to use these antibiotics in the first place. Cutting down on dairy and replacing the milk on your cereal with a plant-based alternative, like soy or oat milk, may help to clear up the problem. Also, don’t underestimate the power of greens to affect the quality of your skin. The more you eat, the better.
Hibiscus tea is one of the healthiest drinks on the planet, thanks to the unique action of hibiscus on the body. Hisbiscus is a unique herb found in all kinds of fruit teas that helps to lower blood pressure as well as many of the leading drugs. It is, therefore, something that millions of women would like to include in their diets for the many health benefits.
Unfortunately, hibiscus tea has a downside. While it contains some of the most powerful health-promoting nutrients known to science, it is also one of the most acidic drinks – worse than coke.
We should note that hibiscus tea is not “acid-forming.” It doesn’t leach calcium from your body overall, as meat does, for example. You won’t leach calcium from your body overall. It is, however, a lot like lemon and can demineralise your teeth, thinning the enamel and causing erosion. Over time, this type of tea can lead to your teeth looking worn down and old.
So what’s the solution? On the one hand, hibiscus tea is one of the healthiest drinks on the planet, and on the other, it causes erosion of tooth enamel. It seems like you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place.
Fortunately, there’s a solution: drink your hibiscus tea through a straw. Using a straw bypasses your teeth entirely but still allows you to take advantage of all the goodness in the drink.
We learn how to chew and swallow from a very early age. Some of our reflexes are innate, meaning that we don’t have to learn them at all. A newborn baby needs to feed from its mother from the first day that it comes out of the womb, so there’s no time to get to grips with the concept. You just have to be able to do it.
The problem with this, though, is that at some point, our chewing and swallowing can go awry. We slowly develop bad habits which then become unconscious. These habits then change the structure of our mouths, giving us crooked teeth. Not good!
Sometimes you can fix these unconscious habits, but not always. Braces and retainers, therefore, are preferable for adults. These correct the shape of the teeth, helping to restore normal chewing and swallowing action.
People who continue to chew incorrectly will often need to wear a retainer for a long time to prevent their teeth from migrating back to their former positions.
So, there you have it: some of the habits that you think are harmless, but could actually affect your smile in a big way!
The good news is that dental professionals can fix the vast majority of these problems. If you’re not happy with the way your teeth look, you can always go for professional advice and assistance. Whatever you do, don’t suffer in silence if your teeth are affecting how you feel. There is hope!