One of the cornerstones of family dentistry is learning how to protect the smile from damage. The better your habits are, the better your long-term prognosis should be for a healthy, attractive smile. As the old saying goes, prevention is the best medicine.
We recognize the value of information and preventive care, and we strive to empower our patients with the tools they need to avoid frustrating dental problems like cavities and cracked or chipped teeth. Here, we touch on a few of the common ways that unexpected dental injuries may occur.
It’s in the Mouth
The leading threat to healthy teeth is bacteria. We cannot eradicate the thousands of microorganisms that call the mouth home. All we can do is manage the balance of harmony with healthy habits. It is very easy to lean too far to the side of acidity, and this is where the danger lies. Oral bacteria thrive on what we leave behind: food debris. Even a sip of sweetened coffee leaves acidic residue in the mouth, not to mention sugar. Fed by the various bits of debris from snacks and meals, bacteria then exacerbate the acidity problem by depositing more acidic byproduct onto teeth and gums. It doesn’t take long for all that acidity to degrade teeth, increasing the risk for chips and fractures, not to mention infection.
It’s in your Head
Another problem that can lead to unforeseen damage is bruxism, or clenching the jaw and grinding teeth. The danger with bruxism is that it is a hidden habit; most people grind and clench when they sleep. The intense force applied to the jaw, and to teeth, is often provoked by unmanaged stress. In some cases, stress-relieving techniques can put a stop to the grind. To protect teeth from stress-related wear, a dentist may recommend a custom-fit night guard to wear during sleeping hours.
It’s on the Court
Sports related injuries are not reserved for young athletes, nor for professionals. A large percentage of the dental injuries reported each year occur on the court, or on the field, during a fun weekend event. Anyone who plays a sport, especially if person-to-person contact is a possibility, should wear a mouth guard. For a mouth guard to protect teeth and the jaw, it must fit well. Far too many players report not wearing their mouth guard due to discomfort or inhibition of heavy breathing. A custom-fit mouth guard can be made for optimal protection.
The team in our McLean office is here to help you manage dental injuries and other concerns. Call 703-448-1020 for friendly service.