Healthy teeth last a lifetime, but only if you take care of them. You might not realize it, but some common habits could be harming your teeth and their durability.
By recognizing these behaviors, you can take steps to protect your teeth and the health of your smile.
1. Skipping Regular Dental Care
Some individuals avoid regular trips to the dentist for hygiene visits or procedures due to anxiety, busy schedules, or other personal reasons. But doing so puts your teeth at risk of tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral health issues. Be sure to visit the dentist every six months for a thorough cleaning, or as needed if you notice a change or issues with your teeth.
2. Brushing Too Hard
Brushing is the basic component of good oral health, but only when done correctly. If you brush too hard, you can wear down tooth enamel, irritate the gums, and further teeth’s sensitivity. An electronic toothbrush [link to past blog post on electric toothbrushes] can help you avoid damage while increasing brush strokes to remove more plaque. A soft-bristled toothbrush can help protect your teeth against aggressive brushing.
3. Using the Wrong Tools on Your Teeth
If you’re on the go, or out of floss, it can be tempting to reach for other objects like toothpicks, paper clips or paper to remove food stuck in your teeth. But these things can cause damage to your teeth and gums. We have small floss containers at Dental Design Studio that can easily go in your purse, bag or car – stop by the office for floss on-the-go!
4. Clenching or Grinding Your Teeth
Grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw can cause many oral health issues, including fractures, headaches and jaw pain. There are many causes and solutions to this issue. [link to past blog post on teeth grinding] If the grinding or clenching happens while sleeping, a night guard can help cushion your teeth and reduce impact to your jaw. Chewing sugar-free gum may help to prevent teeth clenching during the day.
5. Biting On Your Nails, Ice, Pens or Other Hard Objects
Biting on your nails or chewing on hard objects such as pens, ice, or even hard candy, could cause cracks in your teeth and irritate the jaw muscles. But biting any foreign object can also introduce bacteria to your mouth, which could cause infections. Overcoming these habits can help protect your teeth and avoid additional germs in your mouth.
6. Using Your Teeth As Tools
You may use your teeth improperly without thinking about it and more often than you realize – to open a package or cut something with your teeth. Even biting off a shirt thread can cause micro cracks that can lead to more serious damage over time. Try to use the proper tools, not your teeth!
7. Drinking Soda, Sports Drinks, and Alcohol
Healthy nutrition is all about moderation, so be aware of beverage consumption with drinks that contain higher amounts of sugar that leave teeth susceptible to cavities. Sports drinks and soda contain acid and sugar that feed bacteria in your mouth and erode teeth enamel. Alcohol produces a similar effect and dries out the mouth, which reduces saliva production allowing bacteria and plaque to thrive.
8. Tobacco Use
Smoking cigarettes or cigars, or using chewing tobacco, also puts your teeth and overall health at risk. Not only does nicotine stain your teeth, but it also increases your risk for oral cancer. Chewing tobacco is worse as it puts the carcinogens directly in contact with your gum tissues for longer amounts of time.
Quitting tobacco can be difficult, but there are tools to help. It’s worth the effort when you consider the oral, and general, health risks of tobacco use.
Turn Bad Habits into Good
Transforming bad habits into protective measures can help keep your smile looking great for years to come. The first step is noticing the behavior, followed by alternative habits and practicing new behavior. Ask your dentist for advice on how you can eliminate bad habits that harm your smile – ensuring you keep healthy smiles for life!