Playing video games comes with a lot of benefits, but as a gamer, you should be aware of the adverse effects gaming can have on your dental health. While you may not directly associate the health of your teeth and gums with video games, you often have a lot of factors to consider.
Learn exactly how video games impact your dental health, ways to prevent problems, and solutions a dentist can help solve in the long run.
1. Mindless Snacking
Video games and snacking often go hand in hand as players like to enjoy quick snacks they can grab and chew on while playing games. Unfortunately, the snacking can get out of control as players become unaware of exactly how much they consumed.
A research study published in the Appetite, a science journal, showed that when gamers play, they do not realize how much they actually eat. Snacking on sugary snacks can expose teeth to a lot of sugars and acids, which could eventually lead to cavities.
The effects on teeth can worsen if you pair snacks with sugary drinks like fruit juice or soda. Many junk food companies cater their foods towards gamers, including built-in sponsorships for chips, candy, and breakfast tarts. Avoid these snacks, or eat them in moderation. Try replacing the foods with healthier options like cut-up fruit and vegetables.
Set alarms to brush your teeth, add an extra cleaning each day, and add in other cleaning methods like mouthwash or floss picks. The more you snack, the more you should focus on your dental health treatment options. A dentist can see areas of your mouth prone to cavities through X-rays and exams. If you have any soft spots, you will want to treat your mouth with care.
2. Dry Mouth
If you enjoy online gaming, then you may use a headset to voice chat with other players. For long game sessions, you may notice you constantly suffer from dry mouth. A dry mouth does not produce adequate amounts of saliva to properly eliminate acids from making contact with your teeth.
The acid exposure can break down the enamel in your mouth and result in tooth decay or gum disease. Even when sitting in a single position to play video games, you should remain well-hydrated. Water works best when trying to stay hydrated, but you can try a couple of quick solutions to help as well.
Chew some sugar-free gum during long gaming sessions. Try sour snacks like pickles to help increase the saliva in your mouth. Fruits like lemons or lime will help as well.
3. Long Video Gaming Sessions
You may find that you can easily get lost in a video game, playing long into the night. Unfortunately, a lack of sleep can create some dental problems. As your body becomes fatigued and craves sleep, you will often see a spike in inflammatory hormones. Those hormones can impact the gums, leading to inflamed gums and the potential risk of gum diseases like gingivitis.
Ideally, you want to limit gaming sessions and ensure you get the proper amount of sleep. Try to set a gaming schedule to reduce inflammation of the gums. If your gums are swollen, a dental exam can provide a better look. You may need to book a deep cleaning appointment for your gums to clear out bacteria and help reduce swelling.
If the swelling and inflation persist, then you may need extra cleanings throughout the year. The inflamed gums will create gaps prone to bacteria and germs. As you try to adjust your sleep schedule, keep your dental health on track as much as possible.
4. Teeth Grinding
As you play intense games and tough levels, you may not even be aware that you can grind your teeth and clench your jaw. The force on your teeth could wear them down, cause small cracks, and result in changes to your smile. Pay close attention the next time to play to see if you grind or clench your jaw.
A dentist can see signs of teeth grinding immediately through an oral exam. If the grinding has gotten too out of control, a dentist may fit you with a mouth guard you can wear while you play. After wearing the mouth guard for extended periods of time, you will often naturally form a more comfortable and relaxed jaw position.
You may also seek out other methods to help. For example, chewing on sugar-free gum could reduce the amount your clench your jaw, and the gum can act as a buffer between your teeth. When you play, ask other people in your home to view your gaming habits to see how often you clench your jaw and if you have specific trends to be on the lookout for.
Contact us at Valley Oak Dental Group to find out more information on our dental services. We will help you continue to enjoy video games with a healthy smile.