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How to clean and store a night guard

How to clean and store a night guard

If you grind your teeth at night, you’ll probably need a nightguard.

A nightguard is a device that fits over your teeth and protects them during the night. If you grind your teeth in the night, the nightguard will prevent any damage, such as premature wear, sensitivity and fractures. In this way, they can save you from costly dental work in the future.

But how do you take care of a nightguard? The good news is that it’s not hard. All you need to do is clean it properly every day. In this post, we’ll tell you how to clean a nightguard.

How to clean a nightguard

Cleaning a nightguard is very simple and shouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes.

First, give the mouth guard a quick rinse. This will remove any debris or loose plaque.

Then, brush the nightguard with a toothbrush as if you’re brushing your teeth. It’s easy! Note that you shouldn’t use toothpaste however as toothpaste is abrasive and can damage the night guard.

Once you’re done, leave the night guard out to dry for 15-30 minutes. This is important because bacteria could grow on the mouth guard otherwise.

And there you go: one freshly-cleaned nightguard!

Deep clean

At least once a month, you should give your night guard a deep clean. There are two ways to do this.

The first way is to use a denture-cleaning tablet. Even though these tablets are designed for cleaning dentures, they work great for cleaning night guards too.

To use a denture-cleaning tablet, drop one tablet into warm water. Then, put the night guard in the water – there should be enough water to cover the night guard. The solution will change colour as it cleans. After five minutes, remove the night guard and rinse it thoroughly. There’s no need to do this every day though – just once a month will do.

The second way to deep clean a night guard is with a mixture of vinegar and hydrogen peroxide.
First, soak the night guard in distilled white vinegar for 30 minutes. Then, soak the night guard in hydrogen peroxide for 30 more minutes. Once finished, rinse with night guard with water and allow it to dry completely.

How to store a nightguard

We’ve covered cleaning a nightguard, but how do you store it once it’s clean?

The best way to store it is in a plastic container. This will protect the guard from dust and bacteria.

Do remember to clean the glass or container regularly, as it can become contaminated with germs over time. Also, remember that the mouth guard should be dry before you store it in a container.

Some people say to keep your night guard in mouthwash, but this is a bad idea because the alcohol in mouthwash can drastically shorten the lifespan of your appliance.

Also, take care not to expose your nightguard to high temperatures – don’t leave it on a radiator for example or in direct sunlight. Heat can change the shape of your nightguard and it might no longer fit properly.

Conclusion

Taking care of a nightguard isn’t difficult – just brush it every day with a toothbrush, leave it to dry and then store it in its container.

If you need more advice, then don’t hesitate to make an appointment with one of our dentists!

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Ways to get your teeth whitened

Ways to get your teeth whitened

Teeth whitening is a popular procedure in the UK. More and more people are paying for brighter, whiter teeth.

However, some of the ways to whiten your teeth aren’t as good as others.

In this post, we’ll take a look at some at the ways you can get your teeth whitened.

The best way = Dental clinic

Let’s start with the best way to get your teeth whitened: at a dental clinic. It’s by far the safest way and also the most effective.

And we’re not just saying this because we’re dentists – the NHS also says that dental clinics are the best and safest place to get your teeth whitened.

This is because teeth whitening is a type of dentistry and it should only be carried out by a regulated dental professional (such as a dentist, dental hygienist or dental therapist). It carries risks if not done properly, which is why it’s only safe in the hands of a professional.

Whitening toothpaste

You can find whitening toothpaste in pretty much every supermarket. These kinds of toothpaste promise they’ll make your teeth whiter.

But whitening toothpaste is a bad idea. This is for two reasons:

  1. They’re not as effective as they claim to be. They won’t make your teeth all that much whiter.
  2. They contain abrasive materials that actually damage your enamel. This can make your teeth sensitive and even make you more prone to cavities

Beauty shops

Some beauty salons offer teeth whitening services, often at a lower price than dentists.

However, it is actually illegal for beauty salons to offer teeth whitening if there’s no dental professional present. Beauty salons are not dental clinics and they aren’t licensed to offer teeth whitening services.

What’s more, getting your teeth whitened at a beauty salon can be dangerous. The staff won’t be trained to whiten teeth and they might use products that are harmful to your teeth and gums.

DIY kits

Another option is DIY home-whitening kits. These kits promise to give you perfect white teeth, at home, often at a fraction of the price of a dentist.

However, whitening your teeth yourself is very risky. It can damage your teeth and gums.

For example, some home kits don’t contain enough whitening product to be effective. Also, if a dental professional isn’t doing the whitening, the mouthguard provided may not fit properly so some of the bleaching gel may leak out onto your gums and into your mouth, causing blistering and sensitivity.

Teeth whitening is not something you should be doing yourself at home.

Conclusion

There are lots of ways to get your teeth whitened, but the best by far is at a dental clinic. It’s the safest and most effective way.

So don’t be tempted to try to save money by using a DIY kit or a beauty salon. These methods could damage your teeth and gums and the repairs could be more costly than the treatment.

If you want to get your teeth whitened, then look no further than us. Check out our teeth whitening page for more information or call us to book an appointment.

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What are dental abscesses?

What are dental abscesses?

Dental abscesses are a build-up of pus in the gums, jaw, or a tooth. They cause a lot of pain if left untreated.

This post will discuss what dental abscesses are, where they come from, their effects on your body and how to treat them.

What is an abscess?

Pus is a white, smelly liquid that your body makes when it’s fighting an infection.

It’s made up of dead bacteria, white blood cells, and dead tissue.

When pus builds up in your gum, jaw, or teeth, it’s known as a dental abscess.

But an abscess can appear anywhere in the body, not just your mouth. Some other types of abscess are:

  • skin abscess
  • brain abscess
  • abdominal abscess
  • subcutaneous abscess

What causes dental abscesses?

Your body and mouth consist of two bacteria: good bacteria and bad bacteria.

When the bad bacteria overwhelm the good bacteria, it causes an infection. The infection can lead to an abscess (a build-up of dead cells).

Infection can happen when you have a decayed or injured tooth or when you haven’t been brushing your teeth properly.

Symptoms of dental abscesses

Knowing the symptoms a dental abscess will help you to tell if you really have an abscess or if it’s a different dental problem. The main symptoms of dental abscesses are:

  • Intense throbbing pain in the affected tooth or gum
  • Pain in your ear, jaw, and neck on the same side as the affected tooth
  • Bad breath
  • A swollen cheek
  • Sensitivity to hot or cold foods
  • Difficulty opening your mouth
  • Swollen, red gums
  • Fever

How to treat an abscess

If you believe you have an abscess, then you should see your dentist as soon as possible. It’s important to get help as soon as possible, as abscesses do not go away on their own. If left untreated, the infection could spread to your other teeth and make your situation worse.

If you’re in pain, you can take ibuprofen or paracetamol to relieve the pain in the meantime, or even visit the nearest hospital to get treated. However, generally, it’s best to visit a dental clinic because only dental professionals can give you the best care.

How to relieve pain from a dental abscess

While you’re waiting to see a dentist, there are some things you can do to relieve the pain.

  • Take a painkiller like Ibuprofen or paracetamol
  • Avoid hot or cold food and drinks
  • Eat cool, soft foods using the opposite side of your mouth
  • Use a soft toothbrush to clean your teeth instead of a hard one
  • Avoid flossing around the affected tooth

How to prevent abscesses in the first place

They say the prevention is better than cure, and that’s definitely true for abscesses. Preventing abscesses is easy: you just have to take care of your teeth. You can do this by:

  • Brushing twice daily
  • Reducing your sugar intake
  • Using a toothpaste that contains the right amount of fluoride
  • Visiting your dentist for regular check-ups

If you’d like to see a dentist about an abscess or any other problem, then give us a call. We’ll be happy to see you and to check your teeth.

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Frequently asked questions about gum disease

Frequently asked questions about gum disease

Most people suffer from gum disease at some point in their lives. It’s a very common problem in the UK.

This disease can cause unwanted symptoms such as bleeding gums and bad breath.

We get lots of questions about gum disease from our patients, so in this post, we’re going to be answering these questions.

What causes gum disease?

Most times, gum disease is caused by plaque on your teeth. Plaque contains bacteria that irritate your gums and makes them red, sore, and swollen.

What are the stages of gum disease?

There are four stages of gum disease.

  1. Gingivitis: This is the early stage of gum disease. You might notice that your gums bleed when you brush your teeth. You may also have bad breath.
  2. Periodontitis: If gingivitis is untreated, then periodontitis can occur. This affects the tissues that support the teeth and hold them in place.
  3. Bone damage: If periodontitis is untreated, it can damage your jawbone and create small spaces between the gum and teeth.
  4. Tooth loss: Eventually your teeth can become loose and may fall out.

How do I know if I have gum disease?

Look out for these symptoms:

  • bleeding after brushing
  • red, sore or swollen gums
  • bad breath

When you notice any of these symptoms, you should see your dentist immediately. If left untreated, your gum disease might result in a severe condition known as periodontitis; a condition that damages your bone and tissue and makes your teeth start falling out.

What should I do if I have signs of gum disease?

If you notice any of the symptoms mentioned above, you should visit your dentist. The dentist will check and confirm if you have gum disease.

If you do have gum disease, then your dentist will tell you how to treat it.

How do I treat gum disease?

Gum disease can be treated either by you or your dentist, depending on how severe the condition is.

For mild gum disease, you can either remove the plaque yourself by brushing and flossing the affected area.

For severe gum disease, you should visit your dentist for treatment. You cannot treat it yourself.

It is crucial to see your dentist regularly for check-ups. The dentist can spot gum disease early on and get rid of it before it causes more harm.

How can I prevent gum disease?

Prevention is always better than cure, and that’s definitely true for gum disease: it’s easier to prevent gum disease than to treat it.

In fact, preventing gum disease is very easy: all you have to do to is to clean your teeth and gums often. Ideally, you should brush your teeth twice a day and floss once a day.

As mentioned earlier, you should also visit your dentist regularly. Your dentist can spot gum disease early and treat it before it becomes severe.

Usually, one or two check-ups a year should be enough. But if you’re prone to getting gum disease, then you should see your dentist every three to six months.

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Can children use electric toothbrushes?

Can children use electric toothbrushes?

Getting children to brush their teeth isn’t easy. You can try explaining about cavities and tooth decay all you want but it’s likely to fall on deaf ears for young children. The fact of the matter is that many children don’t like brushing their teeth.

But one possible solution is an electric toothbrush. Electric toothbrushes are usually designed for adults, but in practice, children can use them too. If it makes them want to brush their teeth more often, then it can only be a good thing.

In this post, we’ll look at electric toothbrushes for children and how these toothbrushes can help them brush their teeth.

Advantages of electric toothbrushes for children

Electric toothbrushes actually have several advantages over normal toothbrushes. Here are the main ones.

  • More effective. Studies show that electric toothbrushes are better cleaning at your teeth than manual brushes. This is good for children who can’t brush their well with a manual toothbrush yet.
  • Easier to use. Children often don’t have the fine motor skills needed to brush their teeth properly. An electric toothbrush can make brushing easier because all you have to do is hold the toothbrush against your teeth and the toothbrush takes care of the rest.
  • Comes with a timer. Electric toothbrushes often come with a timer that tells you how long you’ve been brushing. This can help ensure that your child brushes her teeth for the recommended two minutes.
  • Makes them feel like a grown-up. Children like to copy their parents, so if their parents are using an electric toothbrush, it makes sense that they will want to use one too. This can be the difference between your child wanting to brush her teeth or not.

Choosing the right electric toothbrush for a child

You might think that your child can use the same electric toothbrush that you use to brush your own teeth. However, children actually need a child-size electric toothbrush.

Child size electric toothbrushes are smaller than the adult versions, making them easier for children to hold. The heads are also smaller, ensuring the toothbrush will fit comfortably in your child’s mouth.

Child size electric toothbrushes are not hard to find. They’re available from many pharmacies, supermarkets, and of course, Amazon. Search for “child-size electric toothbrush” if you’re looking online.

It’s a good idea to let your child choose the electric toothbrush he wants. For example, your child could choose a brush that has pictures of characters from his favourite TV show. This can make brushing more fun.

Conclusion

Letting your child use an electric toothbrush might seem a bit strange at first, especially if your child has only been using a manual toothbrush until now.

But it’s actually a really good idea for children to use electric toothbrushes. These toothbrushes are more effective and easier to use than normal toothbrushes. What’s more, they usually come with a timer that helps your child brush for the correct amount of time.

If you’d like to talk to one of about dentists about electric toothbrushes, or indeed any other dental topic, then just make an appointment by speaking to our reception.

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Four ways to protect your smile this Christmas

Four ways to protect your smile this Christmas

Food at Christmas tends to be high in sugar. Think of sweets, chocolates, Christmas pudding, candy canes, gingerbread men, yule logs, the chocolate in Advent calendars… the list goes on and on.

And all this sugar can be bad for our teeth. Sugar feeds the bacteria in your mouth, which in turn can cause plaque and cavities.

Don’t worry though, because, in this blog post, we’ll give you a few tips on how to keep your teeth healthy during the Christmas holidays.

1. Brush your teeth twice a day

The most important thing you can do to keep your teeth clean and healthy is to brush them twice a day. That’s once in the morning and once before going to bed. Regular brushing helps to keep plaque under control and it stops cavities from forming.

Children should brush their teeth twice a day too, and this includes during Christmas. We know that it’s easy for children to forget this at Christmas, especially on Christmas Day, what with all the excitement and new toys to play with. But please do spare a few minutes for your children to brush their teeth. It’s the best way to prevent tooth decay and cavities.

2. Limit the sugary food you eat

Food is an important part of Christmas, but one of the best things we can do for our teeth is to reduce the sugary foods we eat.

This could mean buying sugar-free mince pies instead of normal mince pies. It could also mean getting your child an Advent calendar with a toy or a picture behind each window instead of chocolate.

When you start to think about it, there are lots of ways to reduce the sugar you eat at Christmas.

3. Put out carrots instead of mince pies

It’s tradition to put out a mince pie and a glass of milk on Christmas Eve. It’s supposed to keep Santa fed on his long journey from the North Pole.

But why not replace the mince pie with some carrots instead? You can tell your children that the carrots are for the reindeer, who will be hungry after flying so far. By using carrots (which are good for your teeth) instead of mince pies (which are bad for your teeth), you’re setting a good example of healthy food choices.

4. Make sure you see a dentist if you have any dental problems

If you get tooth pain at Christmas or any other dental problem, it’s best to see a dentist as soon as possible. You might be tempted to put off seeing a dentist until after Christmas, but by then, the problem could be worse. So see a dentist ASAP!

Conclusion

At this time of year, it’s more important than ever to look after your teeth. There’s a lot you can do though to keep your teeth healthy – this includes brushing twice a day and watching the amount of sugar that you eat.

That’s it from us for this year. We hope that you and your families have a great Christmas and that you find a spare moment to think about your children’s teeth. From all of us here, have a merry Christmas and we’ll see you next year!

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How to look after your teeth and gums during pregnancy

How to look after your teeth and gums during pregnancy

Pregnancy causes all kinds of changes in the body. This can include changes to your teeth and gums. For example, you could be at a higher risk of gum inflammation or tooth decay.

In this post, we’ll discuss the problems that can occur to your dental health during pregnancy and what you can do about them.

Common dental problems during pregnancy

Gingivitis

Gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) is a particular problem to watch out for during pregnancy.

Gingivitis is a common problem during pregnancy. This is because pregnancy hormones such as progesterone increase your blood flow throughout your body, including to your gums.

The main sign of gingivitis is gums that are red and swollen and bleed after brushing. If you experience these symptoms, make an appointment with your dentist.

Periodontitis

Another oral health problem to watch out for during pregnancy is periodontitis.

Periodontitis is a serious infection where bacteria attack and destroy the bone that supports your teeth.

If left untreated, periodontitis can cause tooth loss and even cause problems for your fetus.

Periodontitis is linked to gum inflammation, so do see your dentist if you have inflamed gums.

Tooth decay

Another health problem that’s more common during pregnancy is tooth decay.

Tooth decay is where bacteria erode the outer layer of the teeth, which is called the enamel.

Tooth decay is more common during pregnancy because saliva becomes more acidic during pregnancy, making the teeth more prone to decay.

Dental appointments during pregnancy

Going to the dentist during pregnancy is an excellent idea because it can prevent problems to both you and your baby. The dentist can catch early signs of gum disease or tooth decay, and help to treat it.

Some people think that it’s dangerous to go to the dentist when you’re pregnant but the truth is that it’s not only safe to go to the dentist when you’re pregnant, it’s also highly recommended.

However, do make sure you tell the dentist that you’re pregnant. This is because certain interventions and treatments are usually not given to pregnant women.

For example, fillings are usually postponed until after the pregnancy. Also, dental X-rays aren’t typically performed on pregnant women, even though most dental X-rays don’t affect the abdomen area.

For this reason, it’s a good idea to see a dentist before you get pregnant so you can get any fillings or x-rays you need.

Conclusion

Pregnancy is the time to avoid alcohol, stop smoking, and take vitamins if you need them. But it’s also a time to pay extra attention to your dental health too.

Pregnancy increases the risk of various dental problems, like tooth decay and gum disease.

Don’t be too concerned, however, as a visit to the dentist can sort most problems out.

If you’re pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant, and you’re looking for a dentist, then book an appointment with us. We’ll advise you on how to take care of yourself and your foetus during pregnancy.

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6 medical problems that can change your tongue’s colour

6 medical problems that can change your tongue’s colour

Did you know that your tongue can change colour? It’s true. Some medical conditions can turn your tongue turn red, white, or even black. To find out what they are, keep reading because, in this blog post, we will go over six health problems that can make your tongue change colour.

1. Oral thrush

If you have white patches on your tongue, it’s probably oral thrush.

Oral thrush is a yeast infection that occurs on the tongue and the inside of the mouth.

Oral thrush can happen to anyone, but it’s most common in children, the elderly, diabetics and people with weakened immune systems. Also. people often get oral thrush after taking antibiotics, because antibiotics kill all bacteria in the mouth indiscriminately, good and bad. This creates an opportunity for thrush to grow.

If you think you have oral thrush, it’s best to go to see a doctor. The treatment is usually anti-thrush drugs.

2. Geographic tongue

Geographic tongue is a condition where red spots appear on the tongue. It’s usually harmless and goes away on its own after a few days. A dentist or doctor can prescribe a topical cream if the spots are sore.

3. Kawasaki syndrome

Kawasaki syndrome is a rare condition where the blood vessels of the body become inflamed, turning the tongue red. It usually only affects small children.

4. Leukoplakia

Leukoplakia is a condition where white patches form in your mouth and on your tongue.

It’s different from other causes of white patches, such as thrush, because it doesn’t go away easily and it can eventually develop into oral cancer.

Smoking is the most common cause of leukoplakia. The patches usually go away on their own when the patient stops smoking.

5. Lingua villosa nigra

“Lingua villosa nigra” sounds like a spell from the Harry Potter books but it’s actually a real medical condition that turns the tongue black.

The words “lingua villosa nigra” are Latin for “black hairy tongue”. As the name suggests, the condition not only turns your tongue black, but it also makes it look hairy! This is because the papillae on the tongue become longer and hair-like.

The condition is not as serious as it sounds. The cause is simply bacteria that are overgrowing on the tongue. The solution is just better oral hygiene, especially by brushing or scraping your tongue.

6. Vitamin deficiencies

Finally, certain deficiencies in vitamins or minerals can also make your tongue change colour. For example, deficiencies in vitamin B3 (niacin), B9 (folic acid) and B12 (cobalamin) can all make your tongue red.

Don’t worry though, because deficiencies like these are rare. They can be avoided simply by eating a varied diet high in fruits and vegetables.

Conclusion

In this blog post, we’ve gone over six health conditions that can make your tongue change colour. So the next time you think your tongue looks big funny, you’ll be better prepared.

If you would like to speak to a dentist about your tongue or any other mouth problem, book an appointment with us today.

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Five reasons milk and cheese are good for your teeth

Five reasons milk and cheese are good for your teeth

Humans have been eating cheese and drinking milk for millennia – ever since ancient cows, called aurochs, were domesticated 8,000 ago, in fact.

The reason is not just because milk tastes good, but also because it is highly nutritious. This means that cheese and milk are good for your overall health as well as the health of your teeth.

In this blog post, we’re going to discuss cheese, milk and other dairy products, and how they help our teeth stay healthy and strong.

So if you’re still on the fence about whether dairy is good for you, then read on.

Five reasons dairy foods are good for your teeth

  1. They’re high in calcium. Calcium is found in lots of different foods, but dairy products are particularly high in it. This mineral is very important for our teeth, as it keeps them strong and healthy.
  2. They contain phosphorus. Phosphorus is another mineral found in dairy products. It’s important for your teeth because it maximizes the enamel-strengthening properties of calcium. In other words, phosphorus helps the calcium make your teeth stronger.
  3. They contain vitamin D. Vitamin D helps your enamel absorb calcium, thereby keeping your teeth strong and making them less susceptible to tooth decay and gum disease. You get most of the vitamin D you need from the Sun, but you can also get it from milk and cheese.
  4. They contain casein. Casein is a protein found in milk and other dairy products. It can form a film over your teeth, thereby protecting your teeth from sugar and acidity.
  5. They have an almost neutral pH. Some foods, such as lemons, are bad for your teeth because they’re so acidic. Cheese, on the other hand, is almost pH neutral, which means it’s much better for your teeth. In fact, some research shows that cheese can even decrease acidity in your mouth.

What if I can’t drink milk?

Not everyone drinks milk. Some people are allergic to dairy, others are lactose intolerant and there are also people who avoid dairy out of choice.

If you are one of these people, then don’t worry. You can you still get the calcium and phosphorus that your body needs. It’s just that you will have to get them from a different source.

One idea is to drink almond milk or soy milk. Often these types of milk are fortified with extra vitamin D and other minerals to give them the same health benefits as cow milk.

Another option is to eat more brown rice, oranges, cabbage, beans, broccoli, salmon and peas, as all these foods are naturally high in calcium.

Conclusion

Dairy products like cheese and milk are definitely good for your teeth. By drinking milk and eating cheese every day, you can go a long way in keeping your teeth healthy.

If you would like more information about how to keep your teeth strong and healthy, please don’t hesitate to make an appointment with one of our dentists. We will be more than happy to talk to you.

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Four bad habits that harm your teeth

Four bad habits that harm your teeth

Most of us are guilty of a least one bad habit, whether it’s smoking, procrastination or just biting your fingernails.

But did you know that some bad habits can damage your teeth? It’s true. There are some habits, like biting your fingernails, that can chip your teeth or even crack them.

In this blog post, we’ll go over some of the bad habits that can damage your pearly whites.

1. Chewing on pens and pencils

Many people like to chew on their pen or pencil while they work. Often it’s a way to get rid of stress but sometimes people do it out of boredom too.

The problem with chewing on pens and pencils is that it could potentially chip or crack your teeth. Also, if you chew on pens often, you could prematurely wear down your enamel. Not to mention the risk that the pen could break in your mouth, spilling ink all over your tongue and teeth!

So it’s best to keep pens and pencils out of your mouth. If you need to chew on something, chew on sugar-free gum instead.

2. Biting your fingernails

Another common bad habit is biting your fingernails. Lots of people do it, usually as a way to relieve stress.

But biting your fingernails is definitely not good for your teeth. For one thing, regularly biting your fingernails can shift your teeth out of place, a problem that can require braces later on. For another thing, nail-biting can even damage the enamel on your teeth.

Also, every time you put your fingers in your mouth, you risk spreading bacteria from your fingers to your mouth. The bacteria could potentially infect your gums.

So, nail-biting is definitely a habit to break – before it breaks your teeth.

3. Smoking

Smoking is definitely near the top of the list of the worst bad habits. It not only affects your general health but your dental health too.

For one thing, smoking can stain your teeth yellow, and for another thing, smoking increases your risk of gum disease and even mouth cancer.

So, if you’re a smoker, it’s definitely best to try to kick the habit, for the sake of your oral health as well as your general health.

4. Frequent snacking

Another bad habit that many of us are guilty of is snacking throughout the day. This usually means going to the fridge or the cupboard every half an hour to get a biscuit or chocolate.

The problem with snacking frequently is that it’s bad for your teeth. This is because the snacks create a constant assault on your teeth in the form of acid and sugar. This can cause cavities and other problems.

So, instead of snacking all the time, it’s best to stick to your three meals instead. And if you do feel peckish between meals, make it a healthy snack, such as carrots, nuts or celery.

Conclusion

In this blog post, we’ve discussed four bad habits can damage your teeth. If you’re guilty of any of these habits, then do try to stop doing them and your teeth will thank you!

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