It is a lamentable fact that many of the bad habits we develop in our youth often come back to haunt us much later in life. We may not feel the effects of the choices we make in the present. Take oral health as an example. Many poor oral health problems take time to develop and worsen to advanced stages. The consequences of not brushing or flossing twice a day or getting regular oral health checkups at the dentist Richmond are often only felt after the process of tooth decay begins and gum health begins to deteriorate.
Dental statistics in the UK point to the fact that more of us lose our natural teeth the older we get. For the age group of 65 to 74, the ratio with no natural teeth sits at 15 per cent, for 75 to 84-year-olds, it is 31 per cent, and for those who are 58 and over, the percentage jumps to 47.
Neglecting oral hygiene is one way in which we do our dental health a disservice. Another is the many bad lifestyle habits we form. Often, we are not even aware of these risky behaviours, nor do we consider how they can harm our oral health.
Habits that endanger dental health
Few people realise that what we eat has a direct impact on the longevity of teeth and gums. More attention is being drawn to how frequent and excessive consumption of sugar-rich and acidic foods and beverages feeds bad bacteria present in the mouth.
It is this presence of harmful oral microorganisms that pose a great risk to teeth and gum health: tooth decay and gum disease. Moreover, it is not just fizzy soft drinks that are sugary and acidic but alcoholic beverages too.
The use of tobacco products is well-known for its contribution to illnesses such as cancer; however, numerous studies have also shown its disastrous impact on gum health. The development of gum disease is more prevalent in those who smoke (but it should not be forgotten that neglecting oral hygiene is also a common cause).
Another undesirable consequence of smoking is that it can cause teeth discolouration.
Brushing teeth too hard
Next to the detriment of not brushing teeth twice a day is using too much force when brushing. Abrasion is a dental condition that affects tooth enamel; using excessive force with a hard-bristled toothbrush can weaken the tooth surface, leading to quicker enamel erosion as well as chips and cracks in teeth.
Teeth grinding commonly occurs at night when patients clench their teeth during sleep, and this is why such a condition goes unnoticed until a dental checkup uncovers the symptoms. Teeth grinding can be the cause of facial pain (headaches, jaw pain, etc.), placing unwarranted pressure on teeth and causing enamel wear.
Bad lifestyles that become habitual over years and years of practice can be challenging to get rid of. In addition to avoiding these behaviours, scheduling regular dental checkups is another helpful way to minimise the impact that these behaviours can have on oral health and function.