Top 5 Unhealthy Dental Habits You Didn’t Know You Were Guilty Of

We’re all guilty of bad habits, whether we know it or not. It can be a nervous tick or just something we’ve gotten used to over time. We all, at some point, have either kicked them or been told about them. However, sometimes these habits are harmful, if not annoying. How do we know when they’re bad habits? When it comes to your teeth, these are some common unhealthy dental habits you may not have known about.

Top 5 Unhealthy Dental Habits You Didn't Know You Were Guilty Of

Common Unhealthy Dental Habits That Harm Your Teeth

1. Teeth grinding

Teeth grinding and clenching, otherwise known as Bruxism, is a dental health issue that generally spawns from anxiety and nervousness. In most cases, we don’t know we’re doing it (unless the person sitting next to us tells us so). But what we especially don’t know is the amount of damage we’re causing. It will cause the enamel on your teeth to weaken and break down, making our teeth weaker and more sustainable to future wear and tear. It can also cause joint and teeth pain, which can get as bad as not being able to open your mouth or chew without intense pain.

Clearly, this can become a serious problem. So if you are stuck in an endless cycle of clenching or grinding your teeth, ask your dentist about options. They may recommend being fitted for an occlusal or night guard. If the cause is stress, they’ll most likely talk to you about reducing stress in your life. It’s also recommended that you avoid alcohol and caffeine, as both of those substances can only make impulsive grinding worse. Botox has also proven to be a great solution, as it relaxes the muscle. That makes it difficult for your jaw to involuntarily start grinding or clenching your teeth.

2. Chewing on ice

Out of all the common unhealthy dental implants, this is one the person sitting next to you has probably informed you about. Not only is this one a bit of a noisy nuisance, but it’s one of the more harmful oral health habits. Many people don’t realize that ice is actually not too different than your teeth in terms of hardness and density. Chewing on ice means your teeth and the ice are essentially battling it out for who’s the toughest. Ice is often the victor.

Chewing ice is a bad dental health habit. Even worse is the idea that it could be a symptom of something severe. It’s a popular belief that craving that oral fixation of chomping on ice, also known as pagophagia, is a sign of iron deficiency anemia. Make sure you’re getting enough nutrition in your diet so you aren’t at a loss for iron.

If you crave ice or other things like clay or wood, then see a doctor or a nutritionist to get an idea of how to handle your eating habits. “Pica,” as it’s also often referred to, can also be the result of stress or emotional issues. In any case, check to see with your doctor if you just can’t kick these common bad habits of damaging your teeth through chewing.

3. Brushing your teeth too hard

This is an easy bad habit to get into because we often don’t feel like we’re doing enough for our teeth. When the dentist says “brush,” what they really mean is “massage.” We tend to overestimate the resistance of plaque, but in reality, swift yet soft strokes get the job done. Why is brushing too hard on the list of common unhealthy dental habits? Brushing too hard can damage your gums, as well as your teeth.

The only solution is to brush more gently. Brushing your teeth really shouldn’t be a chore, nor should it hurt. You should also invest in a brush with softer bristles and practice proper brushing habits. Most modern electronic toothbrushes have built in sensors that detect when you are brushing too hard. Brush too hard, the toothbrush shuts off. It’s proven to be very effective.

4. Biting your nails

Another nervous habit, biting your nails, is one of the more harmful oral health habits. When you bite your nails, you’re hurting your teeth and your nails. It can cause teeth pain, enamel damage, bleeding gums (if you’re not careful), and irregular nail growth. Worst of all, your nails are the dirtiest parts of your body. Biting your nails increases your chances of getting sick with a number of illnesses.

Finding a cure for this nasty habit can be tricky, as not even manicures can survive the persistence of this oral addiction. However, there are some things you can try. For example, you can put awful tasting nail polish on your nails that would act as a reminder every time you put your nails in your mouth. You can also keep your nails trimmed short.

Ultimately, though, you want to work towards the root of the problem: your nerves. Just like with most of the common unhealthy dental habits on this list, it’s a common side-effect of anxiety or other emotional issues. Talk to a doctor if you can’t kick the habit yourself.

5. Multi-purpose teeth

Using your teeth to open bags, cut tape or hold items can have consequences. If you don’t use your teeth for their intended purpose or hold things in your mouth for an extended period of time, you can seriously damage them. Most people think it’s harmless, just opening up a small package or grabbing something solid with your teeth, but if anything goes wrong or you slip up, you can crack or break a tooth, or perhaps even further injure yourself. Any prolonged biting onto something you’re not supposed to will damage your teeth.

The solution is simple: be mindful of what you put in your mouth and don’t exert your teeth doing something they’re not designed to do. Instead of opening that package with your teeth, find some scissors or a knife, and save those teeth for the food you eat.

Developing Good Habits Starts with the Dentist

Balle and Associates consists of highly educated and practiced dentists who know all about teeth safety and good habits. If you break a tooth chewing ice or brushing too hard, stop by and we’ll take care of it.

Ways Dentists Go Beyond Just Dental Work

When we visit our dentist, we should know by now that we’re in good hands. Our teeth and gums will be taken care of, and we’ll have nothing to worry about. But is that all they do? Dentists are doctors after all, so there must be more to it than just cleaning your mouth. As it turns out, there are ways dentists go above and beyond with not just oral health but your health in general. Here’s how dentists help with overall health.

Ways Dentists Go Beyond Just Dental Work

Going beyond Just Oral Health

Body nutrition

Your dentist will always have a lot to say about what you’re eating. But it isn’t just about the way it harms your teeth. Your mouth is where health begins—by examining your mouth, a dentist gets a sense of your overall health.

Out of all the provided dental services available, one responsibility a dentist has is counseling you on what you’re eating. This isn’t just a suggestion, but rather nutritional advice from an educated doctor. Dentists help with nutrition. Remember, it always starts with your mouth, but your overall health is the goal.

Cancer screenings

The Oral Cancer Foundation says that detecting cancer early on is a sure-fire way to improve oral cancer treatment. Your dentist can take a couple steps to detect oral cancer. First, a dentist will closely check your lips and gums for abnormal coloring or sores. If they find anything, they may remove a part of the affected area and send it off to a lab to be tested. If you go in for a standard oral health exam, but your dentist notices a white or irritated spot in your mouth, they may suggest to take a sample. Doing so, your dentist can save your life.

Face and skull doctors

That’s right, it’s not just your teeth or even your jaw. A lot of what dentists do takes care of the muscles and bones in your face. Sure, it starts with your teeth because the teeth that aren’t taken care of can lead to infection that affects your jaw and therefore your entire face.

When a dentist performs a procedure in your mouth, they’re working around all those nerves and muscles in your face which takes extensive knowledge. It’s all about the protection of the most vital part of your body. Dentists also focus a bit on the nervous system of your head and neck.

Education

A dentist goes to school to earn the right to be called a doctor. And just like with any other doctor, that schooling involves intense training and practice. By now, everyone’s heard that to become a dentist, you have to operate on a cadaver—well, that’s all about knowing the anatomy of a human.

A dentist has the knowledge about the way a body works as much as any other medical doctor. The reason for these oral health professionals to learn all this is to educate their patients on healthy habits. It’s a dentist’s obligation to educate and inform for better eating habits and overall health.

Balle and Associates Goes Above and Beyond

Dr. Balle and Dr. Guild at Balle and Associates are trained and educated doctors who have extensive knowledge and skill to treat a wide array of oral health issues. Gum disease treatment, dental reconstruction, and oral surgery are ways that dentists help with overall health. If you have any concerns about your dental health, contact us.

Top 5 Best Toothpaste Brands

How do you know if your toothpaste is getting the job done? According to Men’s Health, if it contains fluoride and is FDA-approved, it will be effective. Now, this is technically true and, with that, there’s no one right answer (as everyone’s oral health will be different). But, to help you with your search for the perfect toothbrush, here are some of the best toothpaste brands based on overall quality, satisfaction, dentist approval, and what the oral health problem is.

Top 5 Best Toothpaste Brands

Best Toothpaste for You (Depending on the Issue)

1. Rembrandt or Ultrabrite Advanced Whitening (for yellow teeth)

These two toothpaste brands have a tied spot for best toothpaste for whitening. Most whitening toothpastes contain mild abrasives that help prevent further stains but don’t do much to remove older, darker stains.

Luckily, these two brands are truly more advanced solutions. They have modified silicone abrasives that are more effective in protecting teeth and removing stains.

2. Sensodyne (for sensitive teeth)

Sensitive teeth could be a sign of various dental conditions. Your dentist can help diagnose the issue, but in between dental visits, you can use a toothpaste for sensitive teeth. Sensodyne is the best toothpaste for dulling the pain and sensitivity.

Sensodyne toothpaste contains special ingredients that reduce the pain and sensitivity of regular brushing with ingredients like strontium chloride and potassium nitrate, so Sensodyne is the number one dentist recommended toothpaste for sensitive teeth.

3. TheraBreath (for bad breath)

Made from all-natural, non-abrasive substances, TheraBreath is the best toothpaste for bad breath. It’s all thanks to its awesome ingredients that, on their own, helps fight bad breath and gingivitis. These ingredients include:

  • Water
  • Xylitol
  • Chlorine dioxide
  • Glycerin
  • Sodium fluoride
  • Aloe vera leaf juice
  • Peppermint oil

These ingredients are non-abrasives and all natural. The toothpaste, along with the rinse, can actually be swallowed, unlike many other brands of toothpaste.

4. Crest Tartar Protection (for tartar buildup)

Tartar is that nasty bacterial plaque that has hardened over time. The only thing that can get rid of tartar is by visiting a dentist and having them take care of it for you during a professional teeth cleaning. That’s why it’s important to stop it while you can with a toothpaste brand that actually prevents the tartar from hardening and becoming permanent.

Crest Tartar Protection is the best toothpaste if you’re looking for ADA approval and overall effectiveness. The problem is, not every toothpaste out there can prevent tartar, even the ones that claim they can. But Crest Tartar Protection does just that and does it effectively.

5. Colgate PreviDent Gel (for cavities)

Some of us suffer from cavities a little more than others. It can be a genetic thing or if your enamel is weaker than others. These patients can be more prone to cavities. Luckily, there’s an option for everyone.

Colgate PreviDent Gel is an ADA approved mineral fluoride that naturally fights enamel eating bacteria. A good tip while using this toothpaste to further reap the benefits is to leave it on your teeth after you brush instead of rinsing your mouth out. This will allow the toothpaste to further combat the enamel eating bacteria.

Find a Recommended Dentist

It’s not enough to use the best toothpaste, toothbrushes or even techniques to keep your mouth as healthy as it can be. Seeking professional protection is a must if you want to maintain a healthy mouth. Call Balle and Associates to schedule your routine cleaning and checkup.

The Best Foods for Your Teeth

It’s been said time and time again that we should watch what we eat, how much we eat, and the types of food we eat. We know we should avoid eating certain foods that may cause our teeth to break down or become weak. But what about eating good food for teeth? There are plenty of options for oral health-promoting food that you’ll enjoy while maintaining that smile.

The Best Foods for Your Teeth

The Top Foods That Are Good for Your Teeth

Greens

First, green vegetables are one of the most healthy foods on Earth: they’re packed full of protein, vitamins, and minerals. But on top of encouraging a healthy body, they’re also good food for teeth. Greens, particularly leafy greens, are full of calcium, which helps strengthen your bones and teeth, as well as promote stronger enamel.

They also contain fiber, which helps to brush or scrub your teeth while you eat. Green veggies contain folic acid, a type of B vitamin that has quite a few health benefits, including helping with gum disease.

Cheese

A very popular dairy product, cheese is something you may not expect to be a dental health safe food. As it turns out, cheese has a lot of benefits, including preventing cavities. Eating cheese raises the pH level in your mouth to be less acidic. This, in turn, decreases your chances of getting cavities by eliminating enamel-eating acids.

Also, since cheese is a dairy, it contains a high amount of calcium, which strengthens teeth and enamel.

Apples

While most sweet and sugary foods tend to eat away at your enamel, some fruits (like apples) are actually good food for teeth. There are a couple reasons for their oral health benefits. Apples are very high in fiber, which, as we’ve discussed, helps scrub away at any excess plaque and bacteria. While not as effective as a toothbrush, eating an apple is still a good way to keep your teeth somewhat scrubbed until you get a chance to start your oral hygiene routine.

Eating apples also helps to create saliva in your mouth. Saliva helps flush out bacteria and keep your mouth clean.

Carrots

Much like apples, carrots are chock full of fibers that help keep you mouth fresh. Whether you eat the carrots boiled or raw, they still has its fibrous properties. The great thing about carrots is that you can put them with just about any meal and they taste great. So, you can eat a salad, a casserole, or even a smoothie all with carrots.

Also like apples, carrots have a tendency to increase the production of saliva.

Almonds

Almonds are a great source of calcium and protein. If you’ve ever had an almond, you know they’re actually kind of sweet, but they happen to be very low in sugar. It’s enough to just eat a handful of almonds a day to see the positive effects it has on your oral health.

You can put almonds in a salad, a stir-fry, or just eat a handful of them plain. You can also enjoy a cold glass of almond milk, and it will have most of the same delicious and healthy results.

The Best Dentist for Your Teeth

Balle and Associates is the number one Las Vegas dentist office. Dr. Balle and Dr. Guild have the training and experience to greatly improve your smile. After eating food that’s good for your teeth, give Balle and Associates a call to schedule your next cleaning.

5 Signs it’s time to See a Dentist

When was the last time you visited the dentist? If it’s been longer than six months, that’s one of the clearest signs it’s time for a dental checkup. That’s just one of the reasons to visit a dentist, as symptoms can often appear from a lack of attention from you or a dentist. It can be time to see a dentist if unusual or uncomfortable circumstances begin happening to your mouth.

5 Signs it's time to See a Dentist

It’s Time to See a Dentist if…

If you experience any of the following symptoms of an overdue dental visit, contact Balle and Associates today to schedule an appointment.

1. Your mouth hurts

The biggest indicator that you should visit the dentist comes in the form of physical discomfort or pain. When you experience pain in the mouth, it can be a sign of a number of problems. It could be a cavity or a problem with the tooth itself, pertaining to tooth decay. It can also be a gum infection or periodontitis. It’s important to get this checked out as soon as possible. The first sign of pain or discomfort is a good clue it’s time to see your dentist.

2. Your gums are swollen or bleeding

When your gums get infected, it’s called gingivitis in its minor form. But, this ultimately could mean periodontal disease. Periodontal disease can vary in severity, but it can be rather painful as well. The main symptom of periodontal or gum disease is irritated gums. When your gums are swollen, red, and painful, it’s time to see a dentist. It’s especially crucial to schedule a visit if they continue to bleed while brushing or flossing.

3. You have other medical issues

Other medical conditions can have major affects on your oral health. Some common mouth altering diseases are HIV, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, or if you are undergoing chemotherapy or radiation. In these instances, you may be required more than the typical biannual checkups. If you have other conditions that are showing oral related symptoms, it’s important to get them checked out by your medical doctor before going to a dentist.

4. You have chronic bad breath

It’s always unpleasant if you have bad breath. You become insecure and uncomfortable around people. So if you have bad breath that just won’t go away, you owe it to yourself to make an appointment with a dentist. They can diagnose the issue and get it taken care of.

5. You have a bump or sore that won’t go away

Sometimes little bumps or sores appear in our mouths for no apparent reason. This is normal, as they usually go away after just a few days. Anything in your mouth that stays for an extended period of time, however, can be a sign of something more serious.

It may be time to see a dentist if you’ve been dealing with the same ulcer for more than a week. It’s especially important if you have a mysterious bump somewhere in your mouth, whether uncomfortable or not, to get it checked out—it can be a symptom of something severe.

Visit the Best Dentist in Las Vegas

If any of these issues bother you and you decide it’s time to see a dentist, call Balle and Associates in Las Vegas. Dr. Balle and Dr. Guild are experienced dentists who can thoroughly diagnose and treat your oral health issues. Give us a call today.