Tuesday, February 24, 2015

20 Things That Can Ruin Your Smile (Part 2)

smile-wineWine

Wine drinkers beware: Regular wine consumption can harm tooth enamel.

According to Halpern, wine's acidity can dissolve the tooth structure, and both red and white wine can increase dental staining. Still, you don't have to give up your regular glass of vino to save your smile.

"Enamel erosion develops when wine drinkers swish the wine, keeping it in constant contact with the enamel, so instead, take small sips and rinse with water when you're done drinking," advises Perle.

Pregnancy 

smile-pregnancyIt's especially important to take care of your teeth and gums when you're expecting, since studies show a link between untreated gum disease and pre-term and low-birth-weight babies.

"Changes in hormone levels during pregnancy, particularly surges in estrogen and progesterone, can cause inflammation of the gums, which can lead to gingivitis (red, swollen, tender gums that are more likely to bleed) and put you at risk for infection," says Academy of General Dentistry spokesperson, Gigi Meinecke, DDS, FAGD.

If you have morning sickness, rinse your mouth with water or rub your teeth with a paste of baking soda and water to neutralize the acid caused by vomiting, since it can lead to tooth decay.

diet-pills-smileDiet pills

Even though they may seem like a quick way to trim your waist, diet pills can also be a fast track to gum disease and tooth decay.

"Like many over-the-counter and prescription medications, diet pills decrease salivary flow, which causes dry mouth and puts you at risk for gum disease, tooth decay, cavities, and discomfort," says Halpern.

Bottom line: A balanced diet and exercise are the safest way to lose weight and protect your smile.
 

Teeth grinding

teeth-grindTeeth grinding, or bruxism, can affect your jaw, cause pain, and even change the appearance of your face.

"People who have otherwise healthy teeth and gums can clench so often and so hard that over time, they wear away their tooth's enamel, causing chipping and sensitivity," says Halpern.

Stress and anger can increase nighttime teeth grinding. "Finding ways to alleviate these feelings can help, but it's also important to see your dentist, who can recommend solutions like a custom night guard," advises Perle.

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