3 Dental Habits That are Threatening Your Teeth

Bad dental habits are one of the biggest threats to a healthy smile. Over the years, seemingly innocent actions involving your teeth will begin to take a toll. Avoiding these habits will help you protect your mouth and keep them healthy in the long run.

1. Biting down on hard objects

The teeth are the first step in a long system of digestion. Our bite is designed to crunch through food matter, and each tooth has a different job to accomplish that same goal. When they are used for other purposes, teeth can get damaged.

Using teeth as a tool

Although it may be tempting to use teeth to rip open a package, resist the urge. Mindlessly using teeth as a tool can cause some real damage. When biting hard objects, the outermost layer of the tooth is compromised. The enamel is the first line of defense against damage.

Remember, your teeth are devices meant to break down food, not your own personal bottle opener, tag tearer or fabric ripper. When a strong bite meets an immovable object, damage can happen almost immediately.

Crunching ice

The combination of a cold and hard material can do some immediate harm. A common habit, you may think it is innocuous. Ice is the perfect storm for a chipped tooth. The harsh temperature and hardness put the tooth at risk for breakage.

Chewing on toothpicks and jewelry

Another mindless activity, biting down on a toothpick or other hard objects like jewelry can cause tiny fractures in teeth. These little fractures can weaken the structure over time and lead to tooth loss.

2. Poor dental hygiene and diet

Poor hygiene

Brush twice per day, floss once per day. This is the general rule shared by expert dentists. Skipping even one brushing and flossing session puts your teeth at risk for plaque buildup. Unchecked plaque leads to cavities, and cavities are a costly problem to fix.

Brush in small circles with a fluoride toothpaste to boost enamel strength. It is recommended to floss once each day before brushing teeth at bedtime. Adding a non-alcoholic oral rinse into the routine can up your oral health by clearing away excess bacteria. Be sure to never miss a dental cleaning. Everyone needs to go to the dentist for a professional cleaning twice per year, every six months.

Diet

Consuming sugary foods and drinks is directly correlated to a spike in plaque. The bacteria in our mouth feed on starches and sugars, otherwise known as carbohydrates. When residue is leftover from eating and drinking throughout the day, these bacteria digest those particles and produce acid as waste. The acid builds up and leads to plaque, and eventually to cavity formation.

Protect your teeth by ditching the carbs and instead, reaching for nutritious foods rich in Vitamin D, protein and calcium. These vitamins and minerals are instrumental in the development and support of the enamel, tooth structure and jawbone density.

3. Teeth grinding

The act of grinding and clenching teeth is known in the dental field as bruxism. Grinding usually happens at night during sleep, while clenching can occur in stressful times throughout the day. This habit weakens teeth and will cause tiny cracks to form over time. If left unchecked, grinding will lead to tooth loss, gum recession and jaw joint failure. Stress relief techniques and consciously relaxing the jaw throughout the day can help kick this bad dental habit.

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