6 Bad Habits That Could Be Ruining Your Teeth

Brushing too hard

You conscientiously brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes just like you’ve been told to do. But your gums are starting to bleed, and some teeth are sensitive to hot and cold. Sometimes you can be too conscientious! You’re likely brushing too hard and using a toothbrush with hard bristles.

The American Dental Association advises brushing with a soft toothbrush and using a gentle massaging motion. Save the scrubbing for your pots and pans.

Not flossing

You’ve brushed your teeth, so you’re done, right? Not really. It’s easy to ignore the floss sitting in the medicine cabinet. Start a new habit — take the floss out of the cabinet and put it next to your toothbrush, signaling that you need to go to step two to complete the job. Just brushing your teeth doesn’t fully clean them.

Flossing between each tooth gets rid of that leftover food trapped between teeth so that plaque doesn’t build up in those places that your toothbrush can’t reach.

Grinding and clenching

If you notice that you’ve started grinding your teeth at night or if you clench your jaw with your upper and lower teeth set against each other, you can cause permanent tooth and jaw injury. Grinding your teeth for a long time can literally grind them down to nubs. Clenching causes joint pain, and both habits can crack or chip your teeth.

The team at the Van Orman Dental Group can fit you with a mouthguard so you don’t grind or clench your teeth at night when you’re asleep. You’ll sleep better, and your mouth and jaw won’t be sore in the morning.

Biting your nails

Most everyone has a nervous habit, whether it’s twirling your hair with your finger, tapping your fingers against a desk, shaking your leg, or biting your nails. Nail biting is a habit that can harm your oral health. If nail biting is frequent, it can push your lower jaw out of line, causing jaw pain known called temporomandibular disorder, or TMD.

What’s more, inserting fingernails into your mouth introduces unnecessary bacteria into your system. Your hands may have cold germs on them. Nail biting can also lead to teeth grinding.

A better alternative is substituting a new habit — holding a stress ball, getting up and taking a break from your work, or sipping water, to name a few. If you’re a veteran nail-biter, you could try applying a bitter polish designed to help you to quit.

Eating ice cubes

You may be one of many people who love to suck on ice cubes and then when they’re small enough, crunch down on them. But ice is really hard — too hard for your teeth. Your teeth can crack or chip if you do this frequently.

A better idea is to chew sugarless gum or veggies like peppers or carrots — as a bonus, they’re good for you.

Eating sugary foods or drinking sugary liquids throughout the day

If you’ve been dieting or have stomach issues, you may eat smaller meals more frequently throughout the day. Eating all through the day doesn’t give your teeth a chance to rest from the bacteria that sticks to your teeth. The bacteria produces acid, which destroys the enamel on your teeth. That’s why brushing at least twice a day and getting the leftover food out from those crevices between your teeth is so important.

If you do need to eat more frequently during the day, make sure you’re eating healthy foods that are low in sugar. When you do indulge in the occasional sweet treat, follow up with a big glass of water to help wash away acid-producing bacteria.  

Call or book an appointment online today with the Van Orman Dental Group to ensure your oral health.

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