Healthy teeth are an important part of your overall well-being. Dr. Pamela Ortiz of Grins 4 Kidz in Medford and Dr. Steve Nelson of Central Point Dentistry address some of the most infamous dental habits and why they are harmful.
Q. Why should I brush my teeth before going to sleep?
A. Dr. Nelson: If you don’t brush your teeth before bed, bacteria stay on them all night. Brushing your teeth acts as a shield because the toothpaste adds a protective layer to fight against bacteria. When you go to bed with clean teeth, it helps reduce your risk of cavities.
Q. Do you need a mouth guard when you play sports?
A. Dr. Ortiz: If you play any sport, whether you’re an adult or child, wear a mouth guard. The guard distributes force equally across your teeth and helps prevent them from breaking or getting knocked out.
Q. Is it a big deal to use my teeth for opening things, like chip bags and bottles?
A. Dr. Nelson: Your teeth are fragile. If you abuse your teeth and use them in ways they weren’t intended, they will break. When you neglect your teeth, they could rot, soften and become vulnerable to breaking. This leads to decay which compromises the integrity and foundation of your teeth. If a dentist cannot fix your teeth, they may have to be pulled.
Q. Is it OK for my child to use a pacifier?
Dr. Ortiz: Using a pacifier is a regular part of a child’s development. It can cause kids to have an open bite, but that can be fixed. If you take the pacifier out, usually the thumb goes in, and thumb sucking is a much harder habit to break.
Q. Are whitening products safe?
Dr. Ortiz: Using whitening products could make your teeth more sensitive. While some products are fairly strong, most over-the-counter products are safe.