If you want to keep your natural teeth for a lifetime, here are five bad dental habits to consider dropping:
Lots of us are guilty of this one – it may seem harmless, but chewing ice can crack your teeth and cause extreme sensitivity.
Try this Good Habit Instead: Next time you have the urge to chew something, reach for some sugar-free gum (preferably with xylitol).
While using your teeth to get through that pesky plastic packaging or to bite off a piece of thread may seem harmless enough, it is a leading cause of tooth damage. Even if you do not crack a tooth right away, each time you may be weakening the tooth structure, or causing tiny microfractures that will eventually cause your tooth to crack, chip, or even shear off.
Good Habit: Use the right tool for the job – reserve your teeth for smiling and chewing food, and leave the rest to other gadgetry.
Gummy bears, potato chips, cookies, oh my! So many delicious, processed goodies out there full of sugar and starch to stick between your teeth. We’re not saying you have to give these foods up – just be sure to clean your teeth afterward! Leaving sticky foods stuck to your teeth is a sure recipe for enamel loss, sensitivity, and cavities.
Here’s a new Good Habit worth forming: rinse with water or xylitol mouthwash for 30-60 seconds every time you eat or drink. If you have gaps between your teeth, try keeping a soft toothpick with you to gently clear out any food stuck in there.
But this is important: DON’T BRUSH for at least 30 minutes after picking and rinsing that crud out of your mouth. You might think you are earning a gold star for the extra effort of brushing immediately after eating, but in reality this will damage your teeth. Your enamel is softened when you eat acidic foods, so the mechanical action of brushing will push the acid deeper into your teeth and also strip away some enamel. (Mental image: picture a bathtub that has been scrubbed too hard with abrasive cleaner, and now the metal is showing through.)
This same logic applies to sugary, acidic, and staining beverages. While sipping coffee for four hours between breakfast and lunch may get you to power through your morning at work, it is making your teeth stained and yellow. In an attempt to detox your body with a juice fast you could just be increasing your risk of cavities. No need to give it all up and eat lettuce for the rest of your days… just practice moderation and rinse, rinse, rinse!
We are all aware that smoking is full of downsides, and here are a few of the dental-related ones: smoking stains your teeth; smoking increases your cavity risk by reducing saliva; smoking increases gingivitis risk by inflaming the body, irritating the gums, and raising blood pressure; smoking gives you bad breath; smoking increases bone loss, risk of tooth loss, complicates healing of dental procedures, and reduces the success rate of dental implants. Need we say more?
Good Habit: reach out for support, think of the painful costs of not quitting smoking, consider the lifelong benefits of quitting, and take massive action to quit smoking today.
This is a habit that you might not be able to easily break, because most of us do it subconsciously while sleeping. The best thing to do is to get a night guard from your dentist. That will help minimize risk of chipping, cracking, and otherwise damaging your teeth while having that next stress dream. Also, a night guard can help you sleep more deeply, and wake up feeling more refreshed with fewer headaches.
Good Habit: invest in a night guard and wear it every time you sleep!
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If you want to keep your natural teeth for a lifetime, here are five bad dental habits to consider dropping: Bad Dental Habit #1: Chewing Ice Lots of us are guilty of this one – it may seem harmless, but chewing ice can crack your teeth and cause extreme sensitivity. Try this Good Habit Instead: Next […]