Every day, we do things to our teeth, usually unintentionally, that can cause quite a bit of damage to them. It’s wise to know what these bad habits are in order to keep our mouths in tip-top shape. After all, we only get one set of adult teeth!
Here are some of the worst habits that destroy our teeth and are detrimental to our overall oral health:
1. Brushing too hard Applying excessive pressure while brushing, or using a hard-bristled toothbrush, wears away the protective enamel on your teeth. It can also lead to receding gums and increased tooth sensitivity. Choose a soft brush and use gentle circular strokes instead.
2. Using teeth as tools Using teeth as tools to open items such as bottles or bags, tear off plastic tape, or rip a price tag off new clothing is a definite no-no.
As teeth were not meant to be used this way, it can have a traumatic effect on them, causing problems like weakened or chipped teeth or even poor jaw alignment by wearing down teeth unevenly.
3. Nail biting Not only is this bad for your nails, it is also harmful to your teeth. It can cause broken or chipped front teeth, and allows germs and bacteria from your nails and fingers to enter your mouth and potentially cause cavities, gum infections, and even colds or the flu.
4. Sucking on lemons If you do this on a regular basis, the citric acid in lemons can leach important minerals from your teeth and erode the enamel, making them oversensitive, and prone to chipping and cracking.
5. Chewing ice Many people habitually chew on ice after finishing a beverage. The hardness and cold temperature of ice cubes can actually cause teeth and fillings to fracture.
6. Teeth grinding Chronic bruxism (teeth grinding) can lead to many different dental problems including excessive wear of the enamel, chipping, cracking, and even loosening of teeth. It can also cause pain in the jaw joints (TMJ), headache and severe toothaches.
7. Chewing hard objects Many people chew on pencils, pens and other hard objects without even realizing what they’re doing. Much like the damage that can be caused by chewing ice, chewing hard objects can fracture teeth.
8. Consuming acidic or sugar-filled beverages This includes wine and soda, as well as energy drinks such as Vitaminwater and Red Bull. Excessive consumption of these beverages is quickly becoming one of the most significant dietary sources of tooth decay. It’s not just the sugar in these drinks that is a problem. The acids included in the drinks also contribute to the formation of cavities.
9. Brushing right after eating Acids in foods and beverages that remain in the mouth right after eating soften the enamel. Brushing directly after eating can actually brush the softened enamel away, leading to significant damage over time.
–Dr. Shannon Norman-Kotre, Ann Arbor Dentist