Dentists now know that tooth decay is caused by harmful bacteria that enter teeth after the acid in plaque has worn away small holes in the enamel. Of course, brushing and flossing regularly will keep this process at bay. But you could be inadvertently adding more harmful bacteria to your mouth with some habits you don't normally associate with tooth decay.
Here are some habits to avoid:
Don't drink from the cup of decay.
Nearly everything you put in your mouth has traces of beneficial and harmful bacteria. Once you take a sip from a cup of water or a glass of juice, you've introduced bacteria to the lip of your beverage container and to the contents of the drink itself.
Don't share drinks with anyone for this reason. Since each person's oral environment is different, someone who offers you a sip of their drink is also offering to give you some of the bacteria in their mouth. If they have large numbers of cavity-causing bacteria hanging out in their teeth, now you have some of that same bacteria as well.
It may be rude, but just say no to a shared drink.
Stop putting your fingers - and other stuff - in your mouth.
Maybe you chew your nails or lick doughnut frosting off your fingers. Or maybe you're one of those people who gnaws on pens at the office or who holds nails in your mouth while doing carpentry.
Stop it, please. Everyday objects like cellphones can be covered in germs. You touch the phone, put your fingers in your mouth and the next thing you know, that bacteria are destroying your teeth.
Keep objects out of your mouth to reduce exposure to those tooth-hating germs.
Don't harm your health by trying to be too green.
You may be a sustainability freak, and there's nothing wrong with that. One of your habits may be to lower water usage by using the same drinking glass or coffee mug and just rinsing it out with a little water between uses.
Bad move. Bacteria are able to colonize on that cup if it's not washed with soapy water that's over 140°F.
Haven't washed that cup in a month but only rinsed it between uses? There could be entire cities of bacteria on it now.
Be safe and wash that cup thoroughly between uses.
Tooth decay can kill you. That's no joke. To avoid cavities, stop giving bacteria a leg up. Refuse to introduce more nasty germs into your mouth by practicing good habits and by being aware of the bacteria in your environment.
Talk with your dentist, like Stephen P. Cary, DMD, to learn more tips on how to fight the harmful bacteria that cause tooth decay.
I have never liked my teeth. I had a lot of dental problems, including deep staining and oddly shaped teeth. Every tooth did not have the same shape, and some were rounded while others were more square. Not surprisingly, I never smiled in pictures and not even much in real life. This left people thinking I was mean before they even met me. My dentist told me my best bet to improve the look of my smile was a set of porcelain dental veneers. He said they could make all my teeth white and the same shape. I said I wanted them without any hesitation, and we scheduled my procedures. I love my new teeth, and they really did change my life. I created this blog to help other people living with teeth they don't like realize that they do have options that can improve their smiles and their lives.