If you stop these bad habits that destroy your teeth, you can save a lot of time spent at the dentist’s!
By Chere Di Boscio
There are numerous reasons why oral health is important. Aside from the prevention of bad breath, good dental hygiene can also lower your risk of having tooth decay or gum diseases.
For this reason, it is greatly recommended that you brush your teeth twice or thrice a day and floss regularly. But even if you take an extra effort to maintain your oral hygiene by brushing and flossing, you may be unaware that some of your innocent habits may be bad for your teeth.
You may be chewing your nails or slightly grinding your teeth subconsciously, even as you read this! But those are just two of the ten worst habits that can ruin your choppers.
Want to learn more? We asked dental specialist Dr. Petar Bede to ask us what he thinks are 10 bad habits that destroy your teeth, and what you can do about them.
10 Bad Habits That Destroy Your Teeth
1. Drinking Coffee & Tea
Are you a caffeine lover? Well, the innocent habit of opting for a tea or coffee every morning, and even more throughout the day can be bad for your teeth. While it may energise you and power you up, the tannins in coffee and tea may permanently stain your teeth. This is especially true if you drink your brew black. Best to go for a coffee substitute, like one of these, or tea with milk.
2. Eating Sugar And Drinking Sugary Beverages
Most of us know about this one, but the problem is: many people don’t know where sugar can be hidden! While it may seem obvious that chomping on toffees all day isn’t going to be great for your teeth, did you know pasta sauces, breads, cereals and salad dressings can be super-packed with hidden sugars, too?
Click here to see a list of other foods you should avoid because they’re high in sugar.
3. Eating Acidic Foods
Aside from drinking coffee too often or opting for sugary drinks instead of water, eating acidic foods such as lemons, pineapples, or tomatoes, as well as junk foods, can prove to be bad for your teeth. Dr Bede says the former can stain your teeth and erode it enamel, while the latter can lead to cavities and tooth decay as its acids strip away your tooth’s enamel.
In the case of acidic foods, it is best to limit snacking on them – it’s better to eat them as part of a meal. On the other hand, take an extra effort to give up on junk foods completely. Aside from being harmful on your teeth, these are also bad for your overall health as the empty calories that you get from them don’t do you any good.
Examples of low acidic foods that are better to snack on include bananas, avocados, broccoli, whole grains, eggs, cheese, nuts, and most vegetables.
4. Chewing on Ice Or Hard Candy
When it’s hot, some love to chew on ice. But Dr Bede says that this can cause significant damage to your teeth! Because of the hardness of the ice, this habit can lead to cracked or chipped teeth. It can even cause dental work, such as fillings or crowns, to be damaged or fall out. Even worse, chewing on ice can also lead to gum injuries, as well as tooth enamel damage.
5. Sucking On Cough Drops
When you feel under the weather, particularly when you cough and cold, sucking on some cough drops can prove to be soothing and relieving. However, these cough drops can also sit on your mouth for quite a long period, such that the prolonged exposure of your teeth to these drops can cause a damaging effect on your enamel.
In this case, perhaps it is a better idea to drink warm liquids instead when you are suffering from cough and colds, rather than taking in cough drops. Gargling with saline water may also be beneficial, particularly if you have a sore throat along with it.
6. Grinding Your Teeth
Grinding or clenching your teeth can be caused by stress or anxiety. This unconscious habit can wear your teeth down, which can lead to damage or misalignment. If the latter can already affect your bite or even your smile. A Scottsdale orthodontist suggests that you undergo a dental treatment promptly to align your teeth properly. Alternatively, you can inquire about a custom mouthguard that you can wear even through the night, or in other instances in which you are unable to control clenching or grinding.
7. Opening Things Using Your Teeth
Yes, your teeth can be strong enough that you often use them as a tool to open things up, like plastic packages. You may even have carried something using your teeth because your hands were full at the time.
While you may not think that this is a bad habit, the excessive pressure you put on your teeth can lead to chipping or cracking – or even a jaw injury that can be painful if not addressed promptly.
8. Biting Your Nails
As with teeth grinding, some people tend to bite their nails when they feel stressed. While it may seem to be harmless, Dr Bede says this habit can have a significant impact on your jaw. It can also wear down your front teeth, impeding a healthy and beautiful smile.
Since this habit is often brought about by psychological factors like anxiety, the solution is to practice meditation, yoga or to paint your nails with a bitter, horrible tasting, specialty liquid that is designed to help you quit this habit.
9. Piercing The Tongue Or Lip
Dr Bede says he sees more and more piercings in his younger patients. However, the metal in pierced lips or tongues can actually break off a part of the enamel on your teeth when you’re eating, grinding your teeth, kissing, or playing with the piercings.
He recommends staying clear of such piercings altogether!
10. Brushing Too Hard
Of all the habits that destroy your teeth, this may be the most surprising! ‘Another sentence that we hear almost every day in dental office is “I brush my teeth with a hard brush because only that way I feel my teeth are clean,” says Dr Bede.
This is a misconception. Brushing your teeth with the hard brush leads to damage of the enamel and to erosions. These teeth eventually become sensitive and it may be necessary to protect them with composite (white) fillings.
There are soft brushes with dense fibers which, because of their density, clean teeth thoroughly, without inflicting any damage.
If you’re more conscious about habits that destroy your teeth, you’re more likely to keep your gnashers clean and strong for a lifetime!