As strong as your teeth are and as ready as they are to chew and chomp through all manner of food, the strain and stress we put them through can eventually be more than they can handle. If you’re not careful, you could end up breaking or fracturing a tooth. What can you do to prevent this and, perhaps more importantly, what can you do when it actually happens?
Are you making your teeth more vulnerable?
The enamel that surrounds your teeth is tough. Very tough, in fact. You shouldn’t be able to damage your teeth easily when it comes to everyday wear and tear. However, you can weaken that enamel through a variety of different bad habits. The number one enemy when it comes to your enamel is, of course: sugar. The bacteria produced by sugar leads to the release of acids. Enamel can deal with a lot, but acids eat away at it, which can weaken your teeth enough that they might break more easily. Furthermore, soda and carbonated drinks are bad for your teeth, regardless of whether or not they have sugar. Sugary drinks are worse, but sugar-free drinks are still acidic, which is still going to dissolve the enamel. It’s best to cut sugar from your diet as best as possible but, when it’s not, you should make sure that you give your teeth a brush and some mouthwash after sugary foods.
Grinding your teeth
While your enamel might be strong, sustained pressure and wearing over time can lead to damage. One of the biggest problems is bruxism or, as it is most commonly known, grinding your teeth. Stress and tension can cause your jaw to set and your teeth to grind but, for most people, the majority of teeth grinding happens when they sleep. The cause of this sleep habit can be hard to narrow, but it’s important to take action against it. Changing some habits, such as avoiding caffeine or relaxing before bed can help. However, there are bruxism mouthguards specifically for this, that can prevent you from grinding down your teeth by stopping them from being able to touch in the first place.
Accidents, injuries, and bad choices
Of course, your enamel doesn’t necessarily need to be too badly damaged for you to end up chipping or breaking your tooth. It can happen in a variety of ways, such as biting onto something hard in an unfortunate way, experiencing facial trauma as the result of an accident, getting into a sports injury, or otherwise. People who do things like open bottle caps with their teeth or take other risks with their mouths are going to find out how bad an idea that can be as well. Avoiding hard candy, chewing ice, and other foods, making sure you’re wearing mouthguards when doing sports or other physical activities, and being smart about what you use your teeth for can lower your chances of chipping or breaking them.
How to handle damaged teeth
The tips above can help you get a good idea of how your teeth can get damaged and what you can do to reduce the chances of it happening to you. However, what if it’s too late for prevention? You might think that you’re entirely out of luck but the truth is that there are plenty of options for a broken tooth. A dental crown is the most common and perhaps most reliable option, covering the entirety of the area with an artificial replacement. However, there are other options, including veneers, dental implants, and bonding treatments. Your dentist will recommend that which is best given the condition of your teeth. What’s important is that you get on it as soon as possible. A broken tooth counts as a dental emergency, so don’t wait around too long.
What lies beneath
You might be curious to see what your teeth look like after they have been damaged. Indeed, taking a look could give you a good indication as to the health of your teeth. It might be distressing to see, but if you see brown or black interiors to your teeth, then you need to look after your mouth more carefully. This is usually caused by tooth decay, but it could also be pulp necrosis, which means your tooth is dead and should be replaced.
No one plans to break a tooth, of course. However, the best way to avoid it or fix it is to follow the tips above. Know what you have to do so that you don’t get caught by surprise and let damage linger longer than it should.