The importance of maintaining dental health
Maintaining good dental health does more than just keep your pearly whites bright. Recent research – such as one 2020 study – has found that poor oral hygiene is connected with other physical conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease.
A recent report from the American Heart Association also found a link between poor dental care and declining brain health. But even if you’re brushing, flossing, and up-to-date with professional cleanings, dentists say many of us are guilty of some lifestyle and oral health habits that could be doing our mouths more harm than good.
Your love for citrus
Most people are aware that soft drinks are damaging to teeth, says dentist, Dr Arthur Jeske. “Others may be less obvious,” Dr Jeske says, like your morning smoothie with a squirt of lime juice or the lemon wedge you add to a beer or cocktail. This is because the high acidity levels in many fruits (even grapes and peaches are quite acidic) can cause demineralisation, “which means [they] can literally dissolve your tooth enamel over time.”
Dr Jeske’s recommendation: drinking plain water after eating or drinking can help reduce fruits’ impact on your teeth.
That firm toothbrush
“Many people believe brushing with firmer toothbrush bristles and abrasive toothpaste will make their teeth cleaner and whiter,” says dental surgeon, Dr James Galati. But these products (and heavy-handed brushing in general) can actually damage teeth by taking off the protective enamel and traumatising gum tissue around the teeth – leading to receding gums and root exposure. Instead, aim for soft-bristle brushes and toothpastes with fluoride.