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Lesser-Known Threats That Can Weaken Your Teeth

While you’re likely familiar with the usual suspects that pose a threat to dental health — cavity-causing sugary treats, poor oral hygiene, and smoking — there are lesser-known culprits that can quietly weaken your teeth. 

Read on as  Dr. Lovely Manlapaz Teodoro and the team here at The Dental Center of Hercules highlight seven lesser-known threats that can weaken your teeth.

1. Frequent snacking 

Snacking throughout the day 一 even on seemingly harmless foods 一 can contribute to tooth enamel erosion if you don’t brush your teeth after you eat. Each time you eat, the pH level in your mouth drops, and may create an acidic environment. 

Avoid grazing throughout the day and set specific time limits for your snacks, and always brush your teeth afterward.

2. Eating citrus fruits without rinsing your mouth afterward

While fruits like oranges and lemons offer essential nutrients, their high acidity levels can erode tooth enamel over time. Enjoy these foods in moderation and rinse your mouth with water afterward to neutralize acidity.

3. Chewing on ice

Chewing on ice or hard objects, such as pen caps, can lead to microcracks in your teeth. Over time, this habit can weaken tooth structure and increase your risk of tooth fractures. Choose tooth-friendly alternatives like sugar-free gum if you have the urge to chew.

4. Drinking too much carbonated water

Although it’s often perceived as a healthier alternative to sugary sodas, carbonated water can still have a downside. The carbonation process creates carbonic acid, which can contribute to enamel erosion. 

Studies also show that carbonated water is the hardest on etched teeth or teeth that have adhesive material on them. The carbonation can decrease the hardness of your teeth and reduce the effectiveness of the adhesive.

Consider limiting the consumption of fizzy water and choose plain water whenever possible. 

5. Side effects of certain medication

Certain medications, including antihistamines and antidepressants, may cause dry mouth. Also known as xerostomia, dry mouth can be a sneaky culprit of dental issues. Saliva helps to neutralize the acids in your mouth, and unfortunately, a lack of saliva increases your risk of tooth decay. 

If you have dry mouth, consider using sugar-free gum, sugar-free lozenges, or special mouthwash to stimulate saliva production, but avoid any mouthwash with alcohol.

Reminder: Never adjust or stop any medication unless directed to do so. 

6. Brushing your teeth too vigorously

Brushing your teeth can freshen your breath, reduce your risk of cavities, and help protect you from gum disease. However, improper brushing 一 brushing too vigorously or using a worn-out or hard-bristled brush 一 can damage your enamel and your delicate gum tissue. 

Use a soft-bristled brush, hold it at a 45-degree angle, and gently (but firmly) brush your teeth. Replace your brush every three months or when it shows signs of wear.

7. Skipping your routine cleaning

If you brush your teeth regularly and don’t have any bothersome symptoms, you might be tempted to skip your routine cleaning. However, this can have long-term effects on your oral health. 

During your routine appointment, our team removes plaque and tartar, checks for any warning signs of cavities (even ones between your teeth), and performs an oral cancer screening. The goal of a routine dental exam is to help prevent issues and, if any issues do arise, treat them before they snowball into bigger problems. Preventive care can help you avoid the more serious complications of untreated dental issues that could weaken your teeth or contribute to tooth loss.

Questions about your oral health? Call us at 510-254-3328 and speak with our friendly staff. You can also book your next dental cleaning by clicking here. 

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