ORLEANS, ONTARIO – Think indulging in sugary candies, smoking and guzzling red wine are the only ways to harm teeth? Think again. While it’s true that teeth are among the toughest structures in the body, they’re also incredibly sensitive to a number of activities we often do daily. Orleans family dentistry practice Trillium Dental lists five surprising ways patients harm their teeth without even knowing.

Swimming.
We often discuss water’s benefits for teeth, but H20 that’s loaded with chlorine and other chemicals fails to receive our approval. Pool chemicals are often linked to enamel damage. Observations from the American Journal of Dentistry and The Journal of the Canadian Dental Association state that swimming in a pool brimming with chlorine for about 2 months triggers rapid enamel erosion and sensitivity. When taking a dip in the pool, only immerse your smile under water when necessary. Be sure to keep your mouth shut tight if doing so.

Whitening Toothpaste.
So, how could toothpaste possibly be detrimental to teeth? When it’s engineered to scratch at the tooth’s surface. Whitening toothpastes do their job thanks to small particles that scrape stains off the protective enamel layer. Unfortunately, the enamel can fall victim to the abrasiveness. Damaged enamel leaves teeth susceptible to cavities, advanced decay and sensitivity. If you must use whitening toothpaste, opt for a gentle variety and don’t use it every time you brush.

Dried Fruits.
As healthy of a snack as dried fruit appears to be, the sticky-sweet consistency can wreak havoc on teeth. Dried fruits are the safer choice over gummy, processed fruit snacks, but its sugars still promote bacteria growth, which leads to enamel erosion and decay. If you need a fruity fix, reach for an apple! Apples are rich in tooth-fortifying minerals.

Coffee.
We all know that coffee stains teeth. What coffee addicts may not realize, however, is that this pick-me-up also transforms a smile into a plaque magnet. Heavy staining makes teeth increasingly sticky, allowing an assortment of bacteria to get a good grip. If you’re a coffee guzzler and would like to avoid the need for porcelain veneers or dental implants in the future, be sure to implement a proper oral hygiene routine of brushing, flossing and mouth rinse to combat the added stickiness.

Brushing.
Yes, you read correctly. When poorly timed or done aggressively, even brushing teeth can prove harmful to teeth. Dental professionals typically encourage their patients to brush following a meal, but they leave out one important stipulation. Since acids from consumed foods weaken the enamel, brushing immediately after a meal can scrub away more than just plaque. To achieve a healthy smile while keeping the enamel intact, wait about an hour after eating to brush.