Are You Gambling With Your Oral Health?

Advice on habits to avoid by your local Burton dentists.

On a day to day basis, most of us probably consider that we look after our teeth fairly well. A daily habit of brushing both morning and night, with the addition of flossing as well, is certainly a very good start to keeping our teeth and gums in good health.  It is always worth keeping in mind though, that habits can become just that and we may not always focus as much as we should do, perhaps cutting the brushing time down or even using a toothbrush that should have been thrown out long ago.

Even with the best regular oral health regime though, our teeth can still be at risk, sometimes from things that we do in our daily life which we may not even associate with our teeth in any way. In today’s SG Dental blog, we take a look at some of the things that can put our teeth, and oral health in general, at risk; things that some of us might do on an almost daily basis.


Perhaps you are more aware of the risk to your oral health if you smoke than you used to be when you first started. That is understandable as there is now a wilder acknowledgement of the harm that cigarettes and other tobacco products can do to our oral health. While this knowledge is an important step, it means little if you do nothing about it.

Quitting smoking can be hard as nicotine is a highly addictive substance. With regulations banning smoking in many public places, plus the cost of course, there has probably never been a better time to quit. There is a lot of help out there and, as well as benefiting your pocket, quitting smoking will help you to avoid problems like periodontitis and potentially oral and general cancers as well.

Opening packets etc

Sadly, we see people each year who come to our Burton dental clinic with damaged teeth, simply because they have used them as ‘tools’ instead of what they are meant to be used for. Some of the things they have used them for are frankly, very dangerous, perhaps the most ridiculous being the opening of bottles with the teeth. Aside from the very high risk of breaking a tooth, there is a real risk of facial damage as well if you do this.

Even more mundane uses of the teeth can lead to tooth enamel damage though. Many of us have probably opened packets etc with our teeth at one time or another. This can cause the teeth to clash together quite violently, leading to them becoming chipped. While some of these chips may be cosmetic, they can leave sharp edges that cut into the soft tissues of the mouth, often leading to discomfort. Where the enamel is more damaged, bacteria can enter and tooth decay will almost inevitably follow.

Lip and tongue piercings

The trend for oral piercings doesn’t seem to be slowing down and whether you think this looks good or not, please stop and think before going ahead with them. Piercings of the lips or tongue can cause damage to the teeth as they clash against them. Aside from this not feeling very pleasant, it can also damage them and perhaps crack or chip them. A tooth compromised in this way can soon decay or suffer a break more easily in its weakened state.

Tooth jewels

Similar to the above, there is a small but growing trend to have ‘teeth jewels’. These can come in the form of an attachable ‘grill’ or increasingly, gems are stuck directly on to the teeth. This procedure is not carried out by dentists but by studios set up for this purpose. While doing this is not yet illegal (although oddly enough, their removal is), it is very risky and even if the correct dental adhesive is used, these gems can make cleaning difficult and lead to oral bacteria build up. As with piercings, they can also cause the teeth to chip or crack. Finally, there is a real risk that in order to not be left out, those without the financial resources to pay for this may do it themselves using regular strong adhesive. This will almost inevitably lead to the teeth becoming damaged.

Risky sports

Finally, if you play sports, please do consider the risk to your teeth. While some sports such as running or rowing pose little or no threat to your teeth, those involving direct contact such as boxing or wrestling, or even ball sports such as football or cricket most certainly do. We will leave it to our patients to decide on the risk to them, but do remember that mouth guards are available that will help to protect your teeth. It is certainly worth giving this some consideration if you play sports regularly.

If you have suffered any tooth damage or are concerned about your oral health due to long term habits such as smoking, our helpful and friendly team are here for you. To make an appointment to see one of our dentists, please call SG Dental and Implant Centre today on 01283 845345.