Avoid That Crack!

Last week we talked about broken teeth, and surprisingly, the posting generated quite a few comments and questions. This week, we’re going to talk about things that cause cracked or broken teeth, ways to avoid them, since a broken tooth is a dental emergency most people would rather avoid. 

 More adventuresome children should be redirected to quieter activities when they become too tired to play safely.

More adventuresome children should be redirected to quieter activities when they become too tired to play safely.

Sports

 Wear this!

Wear this!

If you play contact sports, it’s important to wear a mouthpiece every time. The temptation might be to skip it or forget it, but most people don’t realize how easy it is to lose one or more teeth to an errant baseball or puck. Dirt bike and motorcycle riders should always wear a full helmet.  

Grinding

Many people have high-pressure jobs, busy schedules, and hectic family lives. It’s no wonder that tooth grinding is at an all-time high. If you catch yourself grinding during the day, consider taking a meditation class or schedule time for exercise (which relieves stress) or another form of relaxation. If you grind at night, a night guard might be the answer. 

 Chewing ice is brutal on teeth and gums.

Chewing ice is brutal on teeth and gums.

Chewing ice or hard food

“There was something so satisfying about chewing ice,”  one patient said. “I finally broke the habit by learning to drink from a cup with a straw and a lid. I joke about the fact that I’m drinking out of a ‘sippy cup’ like my kids did when they were little, but I’d like to keep the teeth I have.”  Jo, Age 61, who has twelve remaining teeth.


Loss of Balance

Some groups of people are prone to falls, which can result in tooth injuries. This means a certain amount of diligence to protect the more rambunctious kids--not from playing, which is their job, but from doing things which could be hazardous if they’re overtired or unable to focus.

 Clear walkways and well-lit areas will help keep our elderly  independent and safer.

Clear walkways and well-lit areas will help keep our elderly  independent and safer.

The same is true for the elderly. Many of them fall when they aren’t feeling well or simply don’t have the patience to use their walker or cane. (There is a fine line between being helpful and controlling, isn’t there?) But we can help in other ways, such as making sure pathways are well-lit and there aren't any obstructions or clutter where they walk.

No biting, no fighting

Sometimes people get into the habit of biting their nails. This can be a difficult habit for a youngster to break. Even adults sometimes bite their nails or munch on other things, such as hard candy. Like grinding, there might be a kind of emotional satisfaction in it, but, long term, it is incredibly hard on your teeth. 

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