These Habits Harm Teeth, Say Dentists in Virginia Beach

November 15, 2016

Bruxism, smoking and other habits harm teeth, gums and jaw function. Dentists in Virginia Beach at Smile by Design give details and countermeasures.Your smile is one of your most important personal assets. Not only do your personal appearance and self-confidence depend on it, but your oral and systemic health do, too. Preventive dentistry aims to keep your teeth and gums strong for a lifetime and to spare you the expense and discomfort of extensive dental work. That’s why dentists in Virginia Beach, Drs. Santos and Folck, show patients what can harm their teeth so smiles last.

More than Annoying

Bruxism, or teeth grinding, is an unconscious habit affecting about half of the American population, says the Massachusetts Dental Society. While a large portion of these individuals grind their teeth periodically and do no real damage, others grind and clench routinely, wearing tooth enamel, stressing the jaw joints (causing TMJ) and damaging expensive restorations such as dental crowns.

To combat this annoying and destructive habit, Smile by Design often recommends relaxation and stretching exercises to alleviate underlying anxiety and stress. Additionally, custom-made acrylic mouthguards soften the physical forces associated with bruxism. Worn at night, these comfortable appliances protect tooth enamel and jaw joints for better sleep and stronger smiles.

Damage Begins in the Mouth

We all know how smoking damages systemic health with heart disease and COPD, but did you know that oral cancers generally originate with smoking or chewing tobacco? It’s true.The Oral Cancer Foundation estimates that 48,000 new cases of oral cancer are diagnosed yearly in the US. Most are tobacco-related. When caught early, five-year survival is 80 to 90 percent. Diagnosed in late stages, survival statistics plummet.

To keep teeth white and decay-free and gums and oral tissues healthy, dentists and primary care physicians urge smoking cessation programs. Most effective as a combination of counseling and prescription drugs (such as Chantix), kicking the tobacco habit preserves overall health and vibrant smiles and even prevents persistent bad breath.

What You Chew and Drink

A diet high in processed sugars and carbohydrates decays teeth and leads to gum disease. Poor hydration causes dry mouth, or xerostomia, a major player in dental cavities and periodontitis. Chewing extra-hard foods, such as ice and peanut brittle, cracks tooth enamel as does opening packages with the teeth and biting pencil tops and other non-food items. So, eat a nutritious, low carb diet, and drink at least eight glasses of water daily.

The timing of our meals and snacks impacts dental health. Drs. Folck and Santos discourage continual snacking and advise regular meal times followed by brushing and flossing to remove harmful plaque.

How You Brush

The American Dental Association recommends kids through adults in their senior years brush twice a day with a soft brush and to floss daily, too. The ADA also advises semi-annual check-ups and cleanings with your dentist in Virginia Beach.

Additionally, the ADA says to brush for a full 2 minutes, systematically cleaning each area of the upper and lower arches, gums, tongue and other soft oral tissues. Finally, be gentle. Overly aggressive brushing and flossing damages tooth enamel and gums, thinning them and causing sensitivity issues.

This is Beneficial

Contact Smile by Design. These caring professionals encourage you to come for your six-month cleaning and examination. Ask about ways to keep your teeth and gums healthy. Prevention is the most important part of dental care!

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Ask the Doctor


Pembroke 1 Building, 281 Independence Blvd., Suite 200, Virginia Beach, VA 23462 USA
Stephanie Santos, DDS Vinita Folck, DDS Smile by Design put fun in dentistry, with their family-friendly office, which provides gentle, compassionate, and comfortable family dentistry. (757) 337-4665 drfolck@smilebydesignva.com