A smile can say a lot about a person, which is why it is so important to take the time and measures to protect your pearly whites with proper dental hygiene. Being aware of what is good and bad for your teeth can make a world of difference in your care routine and keep them in great shape over the years. Stay away from these seven bad habits to keep your smile happy and healthy.
1. Grinding and Clenching
Grinding of the teeth most commonly occurs at night. While not all people grind their teeth, clenching the teeth throughout the day is more common. Clenching and grinding may occur during sleep, when exerting effort during a workout, or when feeling stressed and frustrated. These actions put pressure on the jaw, wears down the teeth, and makes them more susceptible to decay. A mouth guard is a common solution to prevent grinding and clenching.
2. Drinking Sugary Drinks
Sport drinks, soda, some fruit juices, and sugar-packed alcoholic beverages all contribute to the breakdown of enamel and teeth decay which leads to cavities and sensitivity. Avoid these drinks when possible or opt for a less sugary option. Always brush your teeth soon after consuming them or rinse your mouth with water after you consume a sugary drink.
3. Crunching on Hard Foods
Munching on various hard foods, such as hard candies, popcorn seeds, pretzels, and ice can irritate gums, break down enamel, chip teeth, and destroy your enamel by lodging between the teeth and in the gums. After you are done eating, floss and brush to remove any stuck food that can cause long-term damage.
4. Biting Nails and Other Objects
Biting your fingernails, chewing the ends of pencils, using your teeth to open things, and other similar actions can chip teeth, wear them down, remove enamel, increase bad bacteria in your mouth, and damage jaw alignment. These habits can cause long-term health issues such as root damage, tooth loss, and recession of the gums. To prevent these bad habits, wear bitter-tasting nail polish, have a friend or family member remind you when you are doing this, keep your nails short, and try therapeutic activities.
5. Drinking Wine and Coffee
Wine and coffee both lead to the erosion of enamel and cause pores to open that cause staining. To avoid staining and discoloration, brush your teeth afterwards or rinse your mouth out thoroughly with water or mouthwash. This can also help rid your mouth of the bad breath left behind and slow the growth of bad bacteria.
6. Brushing Vigorously
Brushing your teeth is clearly important for keeping your teeth in good health, but brushing them too hard can wear down the enamel. When the enamel becomes thin, it cannot protect your teeth as effectively, and you may notice sensitivity to hot and cold foods and beverages. Brushes with hard bristles can also cause this sensitivity and irritate the gums.
7. Skipping the Dentist
Even if you take great care of your teeth at home, regular checkups can provide a thorough cleaning and allow your dentist to catch any problems that may need to be addressed. A dentist can also offer tips to improve your dental hygiene and serve as a great resource for any questions and concerns you may have regarding your oral health.