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Damage Control: 4 Ways To Protect Your Teeth, Gums And Fillings

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After having your teeth cleaned and repaired, you must turn your attention toward preserving all of that work. Everything from the food you eat to the jewelry you wear to your oral habits take a toll on your tooth and gum health. Those factors can also damage the fillings and other restorative materials used to repair your teeth. Common damage types include stains, chips or cracks and mechanical abrasions. Read on to learn how to protect your oral health well into the future.

Avoid Stain Causing Food and Drinks

Clean, healthy-looking teeth can inspire you to continue brushing, flossing and going to cleaning appointments at your dentist's office. As your teeth develop stains from contact with heavily pigmented food and drinks, you may start to slack in the oral care area. Even the tooth colored filling material can develop stains from consuming darkly pigmented substances. To keep your teeth bright white, avoid drinking red wine, juice, tea, coffee and soda pop in great quantities.  Also, skip candy, fruit snacks and gelatin snacks filled with artificial dye products.

Do Not Use Teeth To Open Items

Although it seems like teeth are designed to cut through stubborn packaging, ripping open treat bags with your chompers can lead to serious damage. Gripping hard items with your teeth causes the enamel to chip away. The small chips can spread across the surface of your tooth or even weaken the dentin below, leading to painful cracks.

Biting down on hard objects can also chip and crack filling material, which opens up the dentin below to decay causing bacteria. If you are desperate to open a bag of treats, grip either side of the top with two coins and make a tearing motion to break through the stubborn packaging. Alternatively, you can use the serrated edge on your car keys to open the bag.

Skip All Tobacco Products

Smoking cigarettes and using smokeless tobacco products wreaks havoc on your oral health. In addition to causing horrifying disease processes, such as black hairy tongue, using tobacco products often leads to severe tooth discoloration. The yellow or brown stains tend to stick to all of the hard surfaces in your mouth, including tooth colored composite filling material. Full removal of the stains using whitening products does not provide a lasting solution if you continue using harmful tobacco products. The stains will quickly return as soon as you resume smoking or dipping after your whitening appointment.

Beware Oral Piercings

Piercings through or below the lower lip, above the upper lip and in the cheeks are incredibly popular right now. Unfortunately, choosing the wrong location and jewelry type can result in damage to your teeth and fillings.

Jewelry used in oral piercings are often stainless steel, titanium or niobium, which are all considerably harder than enamel and composite filling material. As a result, the metal studs or backs can wear away at your tooth or filling surface over time.

Work with a qualified piercer to find a suitable placement that will not result in direct contact between your jewelry and teeth or gums. If possible, you can also minimize harsh contact by electing to wear a hoop rather than a stud in your piercing.

Maintaining Good Oral Health

Work with your dentist to keep your teeth and fillings in good shape over the years. Your dentist can provide resources that assist in adjusting your diet or quitting smoking to protect the color and condition of your teeth. You can have your teeth checked for chips or cracks from using your teeth as an opening tool in the past. Dentists can sometimes patch up the damage to prevent its spread. Furthermore, dentists can double check your oral piercing placement to make sure it does not continually wear away at your teeth, gums or fillings.