Seven Dental Habits That Are Harming Your Teeth
It's not easy to break bad habits. Sometimes we don't even know we have them.
Experts say that it takes most people about a month to break a single bad habit.
So if you have multiple bad habits you need to break, you've got a long road ahead of you.
But, the time you invest in breaking your bad habits is always worth it in the end.
Especially when you're breaking the habits that are harming your oral health.
Having a bright, healthy smile goes beyond brushing and flossing.
Oral health includes everything from the food you eat to the way your body reacts to stress.
Some of the bad dental habits will do immediate damage to your teeth, like cracking or breaking them.
Other bad habits will add up over time, harming your dental health in the long run without you even noticing.
In the article below, we will discuss seven bad dental habits you should start trying to break today.
Table Of Contents
- Brushing Too Hard
- Brushing Right After You Eat
- Biting Your Nails
- Teeth Grinding
- Eating Ice
- Drinking Lemon Water
- Using Your Teeth As Tools
1. Brushing Too Hard
This is a habit a lot of people are guilty of without even realizing it.
Brushing your teeth regularly is an integral part of good oral hygiene, but if you brush too hard, you are often causing more harm than good.
Brushing too hard wears down your tooth enamel, irritates your gums, and can make your teeth sensitive to hot or cold and even cause cavities.
To avoid these issues, the first step is to replace your toothbrush with a soft-bristled brush.
A good rule of thumb is to look for a toothbrush that has the letters ADA in the box because those brushes will have bristles strong enough to remove plaque without harming your teeth.
2. Brushing Right After You Eat
For many people, their morning routine involves brushing their teeth right after they eat breakfast.
They are right to brush their teeth every morning, they just need to tweak their timing a bit.
When you eat some acidic, like an orange or tomato, the enamel on your teeth temporarily softens and becomes susceptible to abrasive wear.
When you brush your teeth immediately after eating, especially if you're brushing too hard, you are likely to remove enamel, which leaves your teeth feeling extra sensitive.
This can also cause your gums to bleed when you brush.
You should wait at least 30 minutes to brush after you eat so your saliva can bring the acidity of your oral environment down.
3. Biting Your Nails
Biting your nails is a nervous habit that can chip your teeth and impact your jaw.
When you put your jaw in a protruding position for a long time, it can place pressure on it, which is associated with jaw dysfunction.
The obvious solution here is just to stop biting your nails, but that is often easier said than done. This is one of those habits that will take at least a month to break.
So unless you have iron-clad willpower, you can use bitter-tasting nail polish, use stress reduction techniques, and set small, realistic goals.
If you notice certain situations are triggers, try to have something like a stress ball with you that will keep your fingers busy.
4. Teeth Grinding
Teeth grinding is another nervous habit experience when dealing with stress or anxiety.
Most teeth grinding happens when we sleep, making it an even harder habit to break.
No matter what the root cause of the grinding may be, teeth grinding is a bad habit that be can very painful and harmful if it's not adequately addressed.
Constant clenching and grind can create problems that impact much more than just the integrity of your teeth.
There are a few ways you can break the habit of teeth grinding.
One of the best ways to fight it is to simply relax.
Yoga, meditation, and massage therapy can help you calm down and release the painful tension you are holding in your teeth and jaw.
If your teeth grinding is very severe, talk to your dentist about getting a nightguard to wear when you sleep.
5. Eating Ice
Ice cubes may seem harmless, but they can actually do significant damage.
The cold temperature and the hardness of the ice cubes can cause problems for your teeth.
Our teeth are designed to cut through things, not crush them.
Even though crunching ice with your teeth seems easy, keep in mind that even the most powerful blenders need special blades to crush ice.
6. Drinking Lemon Water
People are starting to be more health conscious and they are drinking more water.
That's very good, but some people add lemon to their water to make it more appealing, which might not be so good.
Even though lemon water is believed to aid in digestion, strengthen immunity, and cleanse your body of toxins, it might be damaging the enamel of your teeth at the same time.
Acidic fruit juice is a major culprit when it comes to dental erosion from your diet.
Even though the lemon juice is diluted with water, if you sip it two or three times throughout the day, you should be concerned.
These aren't complete fixes, but you should drink it fast instead of sip, and use a straw when you drink it.
Make sure the water is nice and cold because warmer temperatures will intensify the damage.
7. Using Your Teeth As Tools
When we can't get the pesky box or wrapper open, sometimes we turn to our teeth to get it open.
If you open things with your teeth a lot, you're at risk for chipping or eroding the enamel on your teeth, which cannot be replaced.
The only thing your teeth should be used for is chewing food, which is why your teeth can easily chip and crack if you decide to use them as bottle openers.
There's an easy solution here; don't open anything with your teeth.
Reach for a pair of scissors or a knife to open things that you can't open by hand.
Your teeth will thank you later.
BONUS: Avoiding The Dentist
Most people think that if they brush and floss daily and avoid all of these bad habits, then there is no need for them to see a dentist.
That couldn't be farther from the truth.
Even if you are doing everything right, you still need to see your dentist once, preferably twice a year.
Your dentist will be able to get your mouth cleaner than you can at home, and they can spot dental issues that you might not be able to.
If you've put off going to the dentist for too long because you didn't think you had to, contact the team at Hylan Dental Care.
They will give you a thorough exam and whitening, and if nothing else, will give you the seal of approval until it's time to see them again.