We all know that unhealthy habits are hard to break, but it is possible to do so. Sometimes just knowing what could go wrong can help you stop your current behaviors. The sooner you put an end to harmful dental habits, the safer and healthier you’ll be. If you continue to do some of the worst things with your teeth, then you should expect serious dental problems to arise. Avoid damage, decay, and irritation when you stop doing these five things with your teeth.
1. Use Your Teeth as a Tool
People often resort to using their teeth instead of an actual tool because it feels more convenient at the time. Your front teeth or molars seem like an easy go-to when you want to open an item right now. However, tempted as you may be, please don’t use your teeth! This action is a quick way to crack or chip a tooth, leading to pain and a trip to the dentist for repairs.
Save yourself upset, time, and money by using the right tool in the first place. Store useful items such as scissors, nutcrackers, and bottle openers in a drawer or cabinet that’s easy to reach. Return the tools to the same place each time so you’ll never be without them. This fix is a simple way to create a new and healthy habit.
2. Chew on Hard Objects
Whether it’s a piece of ice or the end of your pen, the pressure from regularly chewing hard objects causes damage in your mouth. Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in your body, but it can only take so much abuse until it becomes cracked or chipped. The soft tissue inside your teeth can become irritated or infected as well. So, the next time you feel the urge to chew, try satisfying it with a stick of sugarless gum or a crunchy apple.
3. Consume Too Much Sugar
It’s a fact that sugar causes tooth decay, yet we often can’t get enough of it. Moderation and good preventive oral care is the key to reducing the risks of consuming sugar. Soda, juices, sports drinks, and milk have sugars as well as acids that stay on your teeth. Sticky candies and snacks are bad too because they can sit in the grooves of your teeth for a long time. The bacteria in your mouth thrives on sugar, eating away at the surface of your teeth. Eventually, you’ll be dealing with cavities.
Avoiding all sugar is impossible, but there are some things you can do to reduce your teeth’s exposure to it. Try replacing sugary drinks and foods with sugar-free or low-sugar options. Water is always an excellent form of hydration. Cleaning your teeth after consuming sugar helps as well, though be sure to wait at least 30 minutes before doing so.
4. Brush Your Teeth Incorrectly
It’s important to brush your teeth correctly to prevent gum disease and tooth decay. Don’t brush your teeth too hard because it can lead to irritated gums and tooth damage. Your toothbrush bristles should always be soft too. If you have a firm toothbrush, then replace it as soon as possible because it can remove enamel. Gently massage your teeth and gums in the morning and evening with a soft toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Flossing once a day is a good habit to develop as well because the floss removes what the toothbrush can’t reach.
Just be sure you don’t overdo it and brush too often or too soon after a meal. When we eat, our mouths become acidic. The job of our saliva is to buffer and neutralize this acid. Wait at least 30 minutes to allow for natural mineralization of your tooth enamel. If you need to freshen your breath or clean your mouth before this time, then try rinsing with water, gentle flossing, or a sugar-free mint or piece of gum.
5. Use Tobacco Products
Tobacco products cause major dental problems. Smoking or chewing tobacco leads to bad breath, stained teeth, tooth sensitivity, and gum disease. This habit also increases plaque and tartar buildup, inflames the salivary glands, and causes receding gums. Severe tooth decay can lead to lost teeth, and over time, your odds for developing oral cancer rise drastically. Reduce your chance of serious conditions by committing to quitting today. Contact your doctor, create a plan, and reach out for support. We know this won’t be easy, but the rewards will be worth it.
Think about how your oral health impacts your overall health. Taking good care of your teeth leads to a beautiful smile, but even more importantly, a healthier body. Improve your life by stopping any of these five habits. Talk to your dental professional if you have any further questions or need help in getting healthier today.