Putting your teeth through
a temperature rollercoaster
There’s something about pairing pizza and a cold drink – whether that’s a soda or beer – that seems like a great idea but can also set your teeth up for trouble as the hot temp expands your tooth enamel and the cold temp contracts it. “Eating hot and then cold foods won’t damage teeth per se but many people will notice exaggerated sensitivity with this combo,” says Leslie Renee Townsend, DDS, regional dental director for the Jefferson Dental Clinics in Dallas of tooth sensitivity that affects about 45 million people. “Keep in mind that a shooting or sharp pain while eating or drinking is a sign of a much greater problem such as a cracked tooth or advanced decay – this isn’t something you should ignore.” See adds.
One solution: Consider eating your pizza with a knife and fork and blowing on it first to tone down the temperature.
Chomping on ice
There are so many habits dentists wish you’d change when it comes to taking care of your teeth and one of the biggies is chewing ice. Chewing ice can chip away at your fragile tooth enamel. “It can also crack teeth already weakened from restoration work,” says Harold Katz, DDS, who holds degrees in dentistry and bacteriology. Instead of chomping on ice cubes, ask for crushed ice if this is a habit you just can’t quit. Know this: A cracked tooth may lead to a exposed tooth nerve that might even lead to a root canal.
It’s a nervous habit we all need to skip – for the sake of our teeth. “You’re not ‘Bucky Beaver,’” Katz says. “This can cause stress fractures to your teeth.” A better option: Squeeze a stress ball during times of stress or munch on a healthy snack like almonds to keep you occupied, suggests Victoria Veytsman, DDS, a dentist at Cosmetic Dental Studios in New York City.
Using your teeth
to rip things open
It’s tempting to use your teeth to nibble your nails, rip price tags off clothing, or open a bag of chips, but you’re putting your teeth at risk. “You may even chip your teeth doing this,” says Mehdi Karimipour, DMD, a dentist in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts. Use nail clippers and scissors for all of these tasks instead.
Grinding at night
Your partner may be the one who first tells you that you’re grinding your teeth at night. Or you may wake up with a dull headache or sore jaw. If you think you’re grinding, speak with your dentist as grinding your teeth can lead to serious misalignment of your teeth. You may need to wear a mouth guard at night.