Often the messages that dominate in the media about our health are directed towards keeping our hearts and lungs healthy, maintaining our weight and reducing stress. However, what is rarely discussed is how, and why, we need to keep our teeth healthy. Often, every day habits that we do not give much consideration can create big issues for our teeth and our overall health.

Here are five habits you should avoid to protect your teeth and general well-being.

1. Sugar (Sorry)

As much as your taste buds love sugar, it is the biggest enemy to the health of your teeth. The bacteria in your mouth decompose sugar and produces acid as a by-product. This acid erodes the enamel on your teeth and eventually reaches the second layer of your teeth, the dentin, and causes cavities.

It is important to remember, sugar is not just in sweets and candies. Carbohydrates such as breads and pastas turn to sugar in your body. Further, most fruit juices, alcohol, sodas and processed foods such as potato chips, breakfast cereals and snacks also often contain very high levels of sugar.

2. Using Your Teeth as a Tool

Although it seems our hands and fingers should suffice for any job, it is interesting that so many of us use our teeth instead. Opening soda cans, bags or any other item with your mouth can lead to broken or damaged teeth.

Aside from the cosmetic concerns associated with a broken tooth (teeth), damaged teeth can lead to additional dental problems such as cavities, the need for root canals, infections and more.

3. Smoking and Chewing Tobacco

Tobacco products cause problems ranging from cosmetic blemishes to life threatening, and frequently, fatal diseases. The nicotine in cigarettes causes everything from your teeth to turn yellow to oral cancer, lung cancer or both. To further exacerbate the problem, the cancer causing chemicals found in chewing tobacco come in direct contact with the gums and are not easily removed with brushing or flossing -thereby heightening the risk of contracting serious or fatal diseases.

4. Not Using Mother Nature’s Resources

All dental professionals recommend brushing and flossing at least twice a day (or preferably after every meal). Additionally, people should utilize Mother Nature’s natural toothbrushes throughout their day. These include carrots, apples and other crunchy fruits and vegetables which naturally clean your teeth and keep your mouth healthy.

If you are concerned about the health of your teeth and think you may require a root canal, contact Richmond, Virginia’s root canal expert to make an appointment to discuss your treatment options.