We all have a bad habit (or two), but how many of those bad habits are affecting your oral health? Today we’ll discuss the top 7 harmful habits that are damaging your teeth.
1. Brushing your teeth TOO HARD
While brushing your teeth should be the last thing you’d ever find on a bad habit list, more pressure and speed doesn’t necessarily equal a healthier mouth. In fact, over-brushing or brushing your teeth too hard can cause serious issues. This is especially true if your toothpaste contains abrasive agents. If you brush too hard, too often or use a toothbrush with hard bristles, you might wear away the thin enamel layer and expose the dentin layer or irritate your gums. So yes, brush your teeth twice a day, BUT use a toothbrush with soft to medium bristles to avoid any issue.
2. Overusing Mouthwash
Rinsing your mouth with mouthwash after brushing and flossing is exactly what you should be doing as part of your oral health routine. However, some commercial mouthwashes are very acidic, and if used too frequently, can destroy your teeth’s enamel. While we can understand how you might want to skip straight to mouthwash for a quick freshen up rather than brushing and flossing, we encourage you to brush more frequently.
3. Using Your Teeth as Tools
Our teeth are some of the strongest natural resources we have. As such, many of us have used our teeth as an opener or a scissor when we were younger rather than finding an appropriate tool. But that bad habit should come to an immediate halt in our adulthood. Unfortunately, every time you use your teeth to open something, you are potentially damaging your enamel and the root of your teeth. Do yourself (and your teeth) a favor and buy yourself a good bottle opener or pair of scissors instead!
4. Biting Your Fingernails
On a similar note, biting your fingernails is a big issue. For one, biting your fingernails increases the risk of consuming harmful bacteria since there’s a lot of dirt and bacteria underneath your nails that can lead to an infection in your mouth. Secondly, biting your fingernails can chip and crack your teeth. When you’re applying pressure to bite your nails, it will loosen your teeth, leading to a chip or crack. If you’ve been biting your fingernails for years, now’s a great time to really try to stop.
5. Drinking Coffee ALL DAY LONG
Yes, drinking coffee can yield some health benefits. However, coffee is infamously known to be rough on your teeth. Drinking two or three cups of coffee every day means that the enamel of your teeth are in constant contact with a staining agent. Since enamel is porous, these stains can settle in and cause your teeth to yellow if they’re not regularly rinsed and brushed away. You can try to avoid staining by either drinking coffee faster or drinking it through a straw.
Alternatively, talk with your dentist about your teeth whitening options.
In the same way that coffee can yellow your teeth, the chemicals in cigarettes and pipe tobacco have a staining effect on teeth because they too cling to enamel. The longer you smoke, the more visible this becomes. Unfortunately, stained teeth is the best-case scenario for smoking as smoking has also been associated with other oral health issues such as gum disease, tooth decay, and dry mouth, so when it comes to breaking bad habits – we highly encourage you to quit smoking!
7. Chewing on ice
You might wonder what could possibly be wrong about chewing on ice since it’s just frozen water. However, chewing on ice can actually crack the enamel in your teeth (same concept as using your teeth as a tool). Over time, these cracks can become larger and affect your oral health. It can also cause damage to your braces, fillings, and crowns so if you have any of these in place, you should absolutely avoid chewing on ice.
If it’s been more than six months since you’ve seen the dentist, call the best dentist in North Raleigh today and schedule your appointment. New patients are always welcome, and we are proud to provide dental care for your entire family. Don’t wait until you have a dental emergency, call our office today!