1. Not brushing or flossing daily
We know brushing your teeth twice a day is an important habit to help maintain a healthy smile. Many forget to floss or feel they do not have time. Flossing twice a day helps remove cavity causing bacteria left behind from food that brushing alone wont always remove.
2. Chewing on your nails and other items
Nervous habits such as nail biting, chewing on pens and pencils can crack and chip your teeth. This constant chewing can also have an impact on your jaw by placing unnessarily pressure on it. A good solution is chewing sugarless gum when you feel the need to keep your mouth busy. It will trigger the flow of saliva, which can make teeth stronger and protect against enamel-eating acids. Applying bitter-tasting nail polish on your nails can deter nail biting. Another approach is stress reduction techniques as well as having something to keep your fingers busy.
3. Brushing too hard
Brushing for two minutes twice a day is a good healthy habit. It’s important not to brush too hard because it can damage teeth and irritate gums. Make sure you use a soft toothbrush and remember not to scrub. Try to massage the teeth with a soft toothbrush. Gently brush your teeth at a 45-degree angle, in a circular motion. Using a back-and-forth, sawing motion causes the gums to recede and can expose the root of the tooth, making teeth extremely sensitive.
4. Clenching your jaw and grinding your teeth
Teeth grinding, or bruxism can wear down teeth over time. This can chip or crack the teeth and cause muscle tenderness or joint pain. This often occurs while sleeping due to stress, too much caffeine, or certain sleeping habits due to shift work. A good solution is wearing a mouth guard at night to help prevent the damage caused by constant grinding.
5. Chewing ice cubes
Constant munching on hard, frozen cubes can eventually chip or even crack the teeth. Not only can it damage your teeth, it can irritate the soft tissue inside a tooth and destroy any dental work such as fillings. Next time you get the urge for ice, chew some sugarless gum instead or avoid putting ice in your drinks to stop the temptation.
6. Endless snacking
Grazing all day, especially on sugary foods and drinks, puts you at a higher risk for cavities. Eating sugary foods produces excessive acid to form on the outer shell of your teeth.Try eating balanced meals to help you feel full longer or try foods that help clean the teeth such as carrots, cucumber or celery. If you indulge in the occasional sugary treat, follow it with a big glass of water to wash away leftover food.
7. Using your teeth to open packages
Your teeth are designed for eating. Opening plastic packages may seem like a quick solution but this can damage and even break your teeth. Using your teeth as tools is never a solution so instead always use scissors and have bottle openers handy.
8. Not using a mouth guard
If you participate in any type of contact sport you will need a much guard. This is a piece of molded plastic that protects the upper row of teeth. Without it, your teeth could get chipped or can be knocked out when things get rough. Self-fitting mouth guards can be purchased at your local pharmacy and sports store or you can have one custom made by your dentist.
9. Tongue piercings
Tongue piercings may seem like a good idea to try but metal studs can eventually crack your teeth. When any metal in the mouth rubs against the gums, it can cause gum damage that may lead to tooth loss. The mouth is also a haven for bacteria, so piercings can raise the risk of infections and sores.
10. Certain foods
Candy and soda come with a lot of sugar that can affect your overall dental health. Sodas can have up to 11 teaspoons of sugar per serving and contain phosphoric and citric acids that can eat away at tooth enamel. Hard candy can crack and damage teeth. Sticky chewy candy can get stuck in between the teeth leading to tooth decay resulting in acids attacking the enamel on your teeth. If candy is not something you cannot live without, try drinking water and brush afterward to remove all the sugar left behind.
11. Coffee and wine
Coffee and red wine can discolor teeth over time. Even though it’s one of the easiest stains to treat with various whitening methods there is the acid in these beverages that can wreak havoc on your teeth. These acids can eat away at tooth enamel, creating rough spots that make teeth more vulnerable to staining. A solution is drinking water along with your coffee and brushing your teeth shortly after to remove any acid residue.
Cigarettes, as well as other tobacco products stain teeth and cause them to fall out as a result of gum disease. Smoking also causes cancer of the mouth, lips, and tongue. If you were looking for one more reason to quit, think of your smile and dental health. Your overall health and your budget will thank you.
13. Not replacing your toothbrush often enough
Old toothbrushes become ineffective over time to clean the teeth properly. They can also harbor harmful bacteria that can cause infections. A good rule of thumb is to change them every three to four months. If it’s flu and cold season, try to change them a little more often.
14. Excessively bleaching your teeth
We all want a brighter smile but overzealous bleaching can really cause a lot of damage to your teeth. Teeth whitening kits can weaken the teeth by breaking down the enamel and make the teeth sensitive to cold and heat. Always discuss bleaching with your dentist. Your dentist can advise you on the proper use of these products as well as which type of bleaching system will provide you with the best results.