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We’ve all heard about brushing and flossing everyday when it comes to taking care of our teeth, but what other habits factor into our teeth’s health and well being? Well here are 8 common bad habits to kick when it comes to dental and oral health:

  1. Crunching on Ice

Crunching on ice cubes or even crushed ice isn’t just bad, it’s dangerous for your teeth. The cold temperature and the brittle nature of ice can actually cause your teeth to fracture. When your tooth fractures, it creates tiny little cracks in its surface, weakening it. As you continue to put pressure on your tooth through chewing and biting, the cracks continue to fracture into your teeth, getting bigger and bigger. This makes it so much easier for bacteria to get into the inner, more sensitive layers of your teeth and infect it, causing a painful cavity. It can also lead to your teeth cracking and breaking entirely. If you have filling, crunching on ice can pop the fillings out very easily, adding another reason it’s not a good idea.

(Popcorn kernels are just as bad, by the way)

  1. Sipping on Sodas

A common misconception about tooth decay is that it is directly related to how many unfriendly foods and beverages you consume. However, the reality is that your teeth don’t really care how much candy you eat or soda you drink; what matters is how long your teeth are exposed to the substances. These two factors become correlated sometimes because drinking more soda usually takes a longer amount of time. However, if you drink one soda, sipping on it slowly over the course of an hour, that means your teeth are being bathed in the acids and sugars of the soda for 60 minutes. If you had drank that soda quickly within fifteen minutes, that means that your teeth only had a fourth of the exposure time and could begin recovering and remineralizing the enamel that gets dissolved by the acids.

Don’t sip on your sodas, and drink them through a straw, if you can.

  1. Opening Packages

It’s become almost second nature to some of us to rip open plastic packaging or tight caps with our teeth. This is a poor decision for a variety of reasons. First of all, whenever you’re putting something in your mouth, you’re contributing to the roll call of bacteria that are already in your mouth. Additionally, you are making your teeth do something that it’s not really meant to do. By adding pressure and forces onto your teeth, pressures that they’re not designed to take, you’re increasing the chances that your teeth will become weakened, chipped, or fractured.

Your teeth are really good at what they’re designed to do: enabling you to chew, bite, and speak properly. Leave other tasks like opening packages to other tools that are designed for that task, like scissors or knives.

  1. Ignoring Problems

It’s fine. It doesn’t hurt that much. It’s not a big deal. It only happens sometimes. Maybe it will go away on its own.

Sometimes, minor ailments can be ignored, put off. Bleeding gums, dull aches, sensitivity. While they might be manageable now, these problems are commonly just the first phase, ready to develop into a much bigger problem. Play safe and catch things early to save yourself the pain and expenses that larger complications incur. If there’s something wrong or anything out of the ordinary, stop making excuses and consult a professional.

  1. Grinding Teeth

We’ve all seen the evil villain in the cartoons that furiously grinds his teeth when he’s been foiled by the protagonist(s). It’s humorous and silly. However, in real life, teeth grinding is no laughing matter. Many people habitually grind their teeth under stress, and it will inevitably yield some unfavorable consequences. Teeth grinding causes the protective layer of enamel to be worn down, which allows for bacteria to more easily penetrate the lower, more sensitive layers of your teeth. This leads to tooth decay and the weakened bone structure increases your chances of contracting gum diseases.

Find another habit to release your stress, such as fidgeting with a rubber band or squeezing stress balls. If you grind your teeth involuntarily at night, talk to you dentist about getting fitted with a night guard to protect our teeth.

  1. Avoiding the Dentist

This one’s pretty straightforward. You need to visit your dentist twice a year, once every six months, at minimum. That’s that. Getting your teeth professionally cleaned refreshes your enamel, and this is a great opportunity for your dentist to catch any early warning signs of disease or complications. Prevention is always cheaper (and less painful) than restoration.

  1. Using a Hard-Bristled Toothbrush

Many people are under the misinformed impression that a harder toothbrush scrubs away the germs better. This isn’t true at all. A soft bristled toothbrush is enough to effectively clean your teeth, and it’s less damaging to your gums and enamel. Extremely hard bristles can actually severely damage the enamel on your teeth, and it is really harsh on your gums. If you’ve been using a hard bristled toothbrush, you might have noticed your gums receding (your teeth looking longer) and your teeth becoming more and more sensitive to hot and cold temperatures.

  1. Smoking

This has to be said in any list about teeth-damaging habits. Smoking is harmful to your overall health for a variety of reasons, but regarding your teeth in particular, smoking destroys the enamel, stains the surfaces of your teeth, increases your chances of getting gum disease, which leads to tooth loss in severe cases. It’s a hard habit to kick, but it’s an even more harmful habit to keep.


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