Managing Wellness

Tooth Decay: Four Bad Habits that Put You at Risk

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Posted by March 4, 2017

Did you know that nine out of 10 adults over 20 years of age suffer from some form of tooth decay? While tooth decay is largely preventable, bad habits can put you at risk of developing cavities. To protect your teeth, it’s important to break these four bad habits.

Frequent Snacking

Nibbling on snacks all day long isn’t great for your waistline, but this bad habit can also be a problem for your teeth. When the sugar in the snacks combines with the bacteria in your mouth, acids are formed, and these acids eat away at your tooth enamel. Frequent snacking means that your teeth are exposed to these acids more often, and this can lead to tooth decay.

Surprisingly, frequent healthy snacks can lead to cavities, too. Fruits are very nutritious, but they often have a high sugar content. Some vegetables, like carrots, also contain high sugar levels.

To protect your teeth, try to limit snacking so that your teeth are exposed to acids less frequently. After enjoying a snack, rinse your mouth with water or brush your teeth afterwards.

Sipping on Sodas

If you like to sip on a can of soda throughout your work day, you may be putting yourself at risk of cavities. Like snacks, soda contains sugar, which leads to acid attacks inside your mouth. Even sugar-free sodas are acidic, and their acids can weaken your enamel. Sipping for extended periods keeps these acids in prolonged contact with your teeth, which is damaging.

If you want to drink a can of soda, try to drink the whole can in one sitting instead of sipping it for extended periods. Drink with a straw to keep the sugars and acids away from your teeth, and once you’re finished, rinse your mouth with water. Rinsing your mouth helps to dilute the acids and sugars.

Poor Brushing Technique

When you’re rushing to get ready for work in the morning, it’s easy to let your toothbrushing routine suffer. Brushing your teeth properly takes two to three minutes, and if you rush, you could neglect some of your tooth surfaces. If you don’t reach all areas with your toothbrush, bacteria, plaque and food particles can be left behind, and you could develop cavities.

To protect your teeth, try to avoid rushing through your toothbrushing routine. Slow down and focus on cleaning all your tooth surfaces. It’s important to clean the outer and inner surfaces, as well as the chewing surfaces of every tooth.

Not Seeing a Dentist

If you don’t see your dentist regularly, you’re not alone: in 2014, only 35.5% of working-age adults visited a dentist. While foregoing dental visits is very common, it’s a bad habit that can lead to cavities. Not going to the dentist means that you miss out on preventive treatments like professional cleanings, sealants or fluoride treatments.

Cost is one of the top reasons for skipping dental visits, so be sure to offer dental insurance to your employees. For working-age adults, a lack of time is another major reason for not seeing a dentist; employers can help by offering paid time off for dental visits.

Cavities are very common, but fortunately, they’re largely preventable. To keep your teeth in tip-top shape, try to break the bad habits that put you at risk of developing tooth decay.

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