Habits That Can Wreck Your Teeth

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There are many common habits that wreck your teeth. Avoiding or limiting these unhealthy habits in the long run can save you on future dental and orthodontic care, and keep your smile healthy.

  • Chewing on ice – Chewing ice is a seemingly harmless, unconscious habit but can cause permanent damage to our teeth with small cracks. These cracks can grow larger over time and ultimately cause a tooth to fracture. Chewing ice can also chip teeth.
  • Playing sports with no mouth guard – Going out on the playing field without something to protect your teeth is dangerous. Your teeth are vulnerable to being knocked out or damaged from high impact sports such as basketball, football, hockey, and soccer. A sports mouth guard helps cushion hard blows to the teeth and jaw.
  • Bed time bottles for babies – Bottles of milk at bedtime increase the risk of early dental decay in your baby’s mouth. Prolonged exposure of the sugar in milk works with mouth bacteria to break down tooth enamel and results in decay.
  • Teeth grinding – It puts pressure on teeth, jaw muscles, and the jaw joint and can cause pain. Wearing a custom-made mouth guard at night may help prevent damage and reduce pressure on teeth and surrounding structures. Other methods such as biofeedback and relaxation techniques might help.
  • Opening stuff with teeth – Teeth are meant for eating, speaking properly, and smiling. Anything else can be unhealthy and this most certainly includes using them as tools. Despite the convenience, opening potato chip bags, bobby pins, or even bottle caps with teeth can cause teeth to chip or fracture.
  • Constant snacking – Constant snacking throughout the day means food debris and plaque sit on your teeth for a prolonged amount of time. Also, consider snacking on cleansing-type foods such as apples, carrots, and celery that minimize plaque build-up.
  • Chewing on pencils – These things put pressures on teeth can cause teeth to chip or fracture. Chewing sugarless gum can be one way to prevent damage and it also stimulates saliva production and helps to cleanse our teeth in the process.
  • Smoking – Tobacco use dries out the mouth and increases the amount of plaque build-up around our teeth. Smokers are more likely to lose teeth compared to non-smokers due to gum disease. Additionally, tobacco use is a big risk factor for oral cancer.
  • Nail biting – In addition to endangering your health by introducing germs and viruses, nail biting can cause your teeth to move out of place and can cause the splintering of tooth enamel.
  • Improper brushing – Some people brush too vigorously. This can lead to worn down enamel and gum irritation. It is better to brush deliberately and gently, with a soft-bristle brush.
  • Drinking red/white wine – The acids in wine eat away at tooth enamel, creating rough spots that make teeth more vulnerable to staining. Swishing with water after drinking can fight the staining effects of red and white wines.

It’s also important to brush twice a day for two minutes, floss once a day and visit your general dentist regularly.

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