As 2015 comes to a close and the New Year fast approaching, many people set New Year’s resolutions. We suggest breaking a few of these dental habits up to ensure a healthier you in 2016 including not missing your regular dental cleanings and checkups. Below are five habits dentists recommend you break for better dental health. Visit http://www.prevention.com/health/things-dentists-never-do to read about all fifteen.
1. Use mouthwash without rinsing afterward
Mouthwash is great for killing bacteria you may have missed after brushing and flossing, but the alcohol it leaves behind can dry out your mouth, setting it up for decay. “Harmful bacteria thrive in a dry environment,” explains Carolyn Ghazal, DDS, a Smile Generation–affiliated dentist in Irvine, CA. Little fissures in the tongue and throughout the mouth are more exposed when the mouth is dry, so bacteria can easily settle in. Choose an alcohol-free mouthwash such as Listerine Zero or swish with water afterward to rinse out the alcohol.
2. Chomp on popcorn
Hard popcorn kernels, if they’re not fully popped, are trouble for fillings. “If you have a filling in your tooth and a kernel gets between the filling and the tooth and you bite down, you could crack your tooth in half,” says Lituchy. “I have patients come in with cracked teeth and I ask, ‘Popcorn?’ and they’re like, ‘How did you know?’ It’s the No. 1 cause of cracked teeth in my practice.”
3. Brushing at the wrong time
Brushing immediately after meals is usually wise, but not after a high-acid food or drink, including wine, coffee, soda, citrus fruits, or fruit juices. “After having something like a fruit smoothie, which is highly acidic, the enamel on your teeth will be temporarily weakened,” Lituchy explains. “Wait about 45 minutes before brushing to give your saliva a chance to dilute the acidity.” Otherwise, he says, the abrasion of the toothbrush on the softened enamel could cause damage. You can also rinse with water to help neutralize the acid.
4. Skip brushing…ever
We’ve all had long, grueling days where just crawling into bed takes all the energy we have left. “In that moment of self-evaluation—about the real risks of not brushing—I will always get up and go brush,” Schwartz says. “We find time to brush in the morning, but nighttime, before bed, is really the most critical.” That’s because plaque, which builds on teeth throughout the day, can calcify and become tartar within 24 hours. And at that point, you can’t just brush it off or floss it away—it must be scraped off by a dental hygienist.
5. Blow off their dental checkup
Dentists recommend that we get our teeth cleaned every 6 months—but many people skip it, which can lead to big problems down the line, says Schwartz. “Typically in the mouth, small problems grow slowly,” he says. “But as 6 months becomes a year, then becomes 2 or 3, that tiny little cavity that wasn’t causing any problems suddenly becomes a much bigger issue, usually requiring a lot more expense to take care of.” Set up your next appointment before you leave the dentist’s office—don’t expect to remember to do it later at home.
The full article was published on OCTOBER 14, 2015 written by AVIVA PATZ at Prevention.com.