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How can I prevent damage to my teeth?

Dustin S. Burleson, DDS
Orthodontics & Dentofacial Orthopedics
Here are some tips to prevent damage to your teeth and maintain a healthy mouth:
  • See an orthodontist as recommended by your dentist or if you feel you have issues that may warrant a consultation with one. Such issues as bite misalignment, braces, and teeth straightening are best handled by an orthodontist, who is a trained specialist in these areas.
  • Always use a mouth guard when playing sports. This simple little device, which can be picked up at a sporting good’s store, can save you a great deal of pain and money later!
  • Speak to your doctor about any prescriptions you may be taking that have side effects that harm the teeth. If there are some, maybe you can get them swapped out for something else or ask for suggestions to protect your teeth.
  • Avoid smoking or using chewing tobacco, both of which can lead to many oral health problems.
  • Keep drinks in check! Sugar drinks should be avoided or kept to a minimum, as well as highly acidic drinks (e.g., citrus sodas and sports drinks, etc.), which can eat away at and erode the tooth enamel.
  • Forget using your teeth to open things or chew on items such as pens. Both can be damaging.
  • Avoid sharing things like straws, utensils, lip balm, etc. The bacteria and saliva can transmit things that lead to an unhealthy mouth.
To help prevent damage to your teeth, you need to consider the cause of damage first, whether it’s from trauma, grinding or clenching, or not cleaning them properly. For teeth grinding or clenching at night, your dentist can fit you with a night guard made of a rubber-like material, which you wear while sleeping. If the grinding or clenching is from stress, you might try relaxation techniques before bed (reading, listening to music, taking a bath) or see a mental health therapist who can help you find ways to handle your stress.

To prevent your teeth from damage during sports, you can wear a mouth guard, which is a simple and inexpensive solution. Eating, drinking, and smoking can all damage your teeth, so it’s important to brush your teeth twice a day and see a dentist regularly for a professional cleaning and evaluation. Keeping your teeth clean will help prevent damage from cavities. Since tobacco can worsen gum disease and bone loss, the best way to prevent tobacco damage is to stop smoking.

There are several ways that your teeth could be damaged and that you can prevent. If you play sports, be sure to wear a face guard and mouth guard to protect the mouth and teeth. If you find that you are grinding your teeth, you can wear a mouthguard at night to prevent damaging your teeth and stop the grinding. It is also important to practice good oral hygiene to prevent tooth decay and cavities. By brushing your teeth twice a day with a fluoridated toothpaste for two minutes each time and flossing daily, you can prevent these problems, which can cause lasting damage.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.