Six habits which can damage your teeth

These habits could undermine the hard work you put into looking after your teeth.

Tooth decay isn’t the only risk to your mouth. Although many of us appreciate the importance of regular brushing, flossing and regular dental visits, we can still risk irreversible tooth damage with these bad habits: 

Chewing on ice

Chewing ice may seem like a harmless and calorie-free way to cool down, but in reality, you could be causing real damage to your teeth. If it becomes a regular habit, it can lead to cracked and chipped teeth, damage to tooth enamel and problems with dental work such as fillings and crowns. 

Playing with Oral Piercings

Those with “barbell-style” tongue piercings risk triggering receding gums, fracturing teeth, and even bone loss. This is due to the fact that repeatedly playing with the piercing in your mouth can irritate your gums and cause them to recede, potentially exposing the dentine layer of the tooth, which is softer and more susceptible to tooth decay. With all of the risks associated, it’s much better for your oral health not to get any kind of mouth piercing, although if you do, try to play with it as little as possible.

toothbrush in holder

Make sure that you're not harming your teeth with any of these six bad habits

Opening things with your teeth

Using your teeth as tools can be a quick way to land yourself in the dentist’s chair with cracked teeth. Whether opening bottle tops, or ripping apart tough packaging, by using your mouth you’re at risk of creating fractures and chips in your teeth, which can offer tooth decay an opening to take hold.

Snacking between meals

It’s important to be mindful of your sugar intake for a number of reasons, but what some people might not know is that when you consume sugar is more important that how much you consume. Strange though it may seem, the length of time your teeth are exposed to the harmful acids produced by the bacteria within plaque has a greater impact than the overall level of sugar you eat or drink. This is why dentists recommend limiting sweet treats to mealtimes, reducing the amount of time your mouth is at risk from tooth decay.

Brushing too hard

Although you may feel like scrubbing your teeth with the strongest brush you can find is the best way to keep your teeth clean, you may actually be doing harm to your pearly whites. Using a toothbrush with hard bristles too vigorously can wear away at the enamel on your teeth, making your teeth more vulnerable to decay. A soft-bristled brush is more than adequate at cleaning away the food particles and plaque from your teeth, so long as you brush correctly for the recommended two-minutes morning and evening. 

Nail Biting

Chewing on your nails can take its toll on your teeth. Not only does the habit put you at risk of transmitting germs and parasites through your mouth, the repeated strain that biting your nails puts on your tooth enamel can cause them to crack or chip. To help kick the habit, try using a clear, bitter-tasting polish to remind you not to bite your nails, and keep your nails as short as possible.

Published 03/10/16

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