We certainly hope that you — presumably an adult — have mastered the art of brushing your teeth. But there are plenty of other less-obvious things you can do to keep those pearly whites healthy and happy. And it all comes down to effectively managing bacteria.
"You have hundreds of bacteria in your mouth," says Julie Cho, DMD, a dentist based in NYC. "They use sugar as food and produce acid that eats away at the enamel." But your saliva acts as a natural irrigation system to wash most of that away before it causes a problem.
That means anything you do that increases the amount of sugar or acid in your mouth (e.g. slurping down sugary sodas) or dries your mouth out (e.g. snoring) has the potential to cause damage to your teeth, Dr. Cho explains. It also might give you a nasty case of bad breath.
Luckily, your dentist can spot that decay forming a mile away. And she can help you figure out ways to do what you love without ruining your smile.
Ahead, we talked to Dr. Cho about seven surprising sources of tooth damage — and how to avoid 'em.