Every day is a great day to focus on oral health. So, brush your teeth, scrape your tongue, and say cheese as Dr. Onaedo Achebe gives us helpful tips to keep our pearly whites in tip top shape.
According to the American Dental Association, only 3.7% of dentists are African American, but Dr. Achebe did not let those odds stop her from earning her dental degree from New York University.
She went a step further and used her expertise to create an environmental friendly oral health care brand called Minti. Her brand Minti believes you shouldn’t have to choose between a healthy smile and a healthy planet—they should go hand-in-hand. Which is why they use sustainable ingredients, recyclable and compostable materials, and follow strict manufacturing guidelines to keep their impact low.
Bad Oral Habits
According to Dr. Onaedo, “Everyone talks about the importance of good dental hygiene, but not enough people talk about the dangers of bad oral habits. Bad oral habits can lead to a plethora of issues that affect your oral and overall health.”
She goes on to give several examples of bad oral hygiene habits including using your teeth as tools, chewing ice, and grinding your teeth at night. Using your teeth as tools, ice chewing, and teeth grinding can cause damage to your teeth, gums and jaw. You might have heard of people who cut their nails with their teeth or use their teeth to open stubborn jars. Snacking on cavity causing foods between meals, especially on sticky, sugary foods, is bad for your oral health and teeth.
In addition to its effects on your overall health, snacking too often can cause tooth decay. The problem is that snacking often means eating foods that are high in sugar and carbohydrates (sugary snacks). These foods promote the activity of bacteria in the mouth, which leads to tooth decay. Snacking between meals also causes tooth erosion because it increases the amount of time your teeth are exposed to acid produced by bacteria that live in plaque on our teeth (bacterial plaque). This erodes tooth enamel over time and makes it easier for cavities to form under the surface of our teeth.
Some of the worst foods to snack on for your oral health are crackers, goldfish, dried fruit, granola, sour candies, gummy candies, breads, cakes, and fruit snacks. Opt instead for real fruit, nuts, carrots or celery sticks.
Eating or drinking acidic foods and drinks
Acidic food and drinks drinks are very harmful for our teeth. They can cause erosion of tooth enamel, which is the outermost layer of the teeth. This layer keeps the teeth strong and protects them from decay and cavities. However, when consumed in high quantities over a long period of time, acidic drinks can wear away enamel and cause dental problems like cavities and tooth sensitivity.
The main culprit here is the acidity (even though they contain sugar). When we consume acidic beverages and food, their acid dissolves some minerals from our teeth. The result is that the pH level of our saliva decreases dramatically. Our saliva is meant to have a neutral pH level between 6.5-7.5 but it can drop as low as 4 after drinking an acidic drink! This change in pH level causes damage to our teeth because it makes our saliva more erosive than usual.
The longer you keep the acid in your mouth the more damage it will do. The best thing to do is rinse your mouth out with water when you are done. Do not brush right after consuming acidic foods and beverages because this can lead to even more erosion. Wait at least 30 minutes before brushing.
Some of the most acidic foods and drinks include lemons, citrus juices, sports drinks and sodas. Opt instead for water. You may choose to infuse the water with berries or cucumbers for taste
Smoking or chewing tobacco
Smokers and chewers face a higher risk of gum disease, tooth decay, oral cancer and other oral health problems. Smoking can lead to a condition called smoker’s palate, which causes brownish-black patches on the roof of your mouth. Smoking also causes an increased risk of gum disease and tooth loss.