It might surprise you to know there are some “normal” routines that could harm your dental health, cause you painful toothache, and some other kinds of bodily discomfort – and possibly deflate your wallet, too. Curious? Read on.

7 Habits You Never Knew Were Bad For Your Dental Health 1

Brushing too hard

Brushing at least twice a day is important for dental health. But if you brush your teeth too hard, you are doing more harm than good.

“Most people think aggressive brushing will clean the teeth better,” says Dr. Cecilia Luong of Tiger Smile Family Dentistry. “But the truth is, aggressive brushing can irritate your gums and cause the tooth enamel1 to wear out.”

Brushing hard does not clean your teeth better; you are simply punishing your teeth and gums. When brushing, your toothbrush bristles should lightly brush against the teeth and gum. If you notice redness and bleeding during or after brushing, then you are probably brushing your teeth too hard.

Some people have gotten so used to brushing hard that it might be difficult to stop. Using soft bristle toothbrush2 will reduce the hardness of your brushing.

Toothy tools

We are all guilty of this every once in a while. Converting your teeth to handy ‘tools’ to open cans, ripping through packages, clipping nails and cutting through tags can open you up as well to a lot of dental problems.

Using your teeth to bite anything other than food increases the risk of chipping them. This puts you at the risk of tooth decay as your broken or chipped tooth 3is exposed and unprotected.

You also stand the risk of exposing yourself to foreign bacteria which can be found on most of the objects you use your mouth to open. This can lead to various sicknesses and infections.

Too much soda

A cold drink of soda can do a lot of good on a hot afternoon, but too much carbonated drinks, whether diet or regular, contains phosphoric acid which can cause your teeth to erode over time. It might be a bit too much to ask that you to stop drinking carbonated soda4, but reduce your consumption if possible.

Also, use a straw when drinking carbonated drinks in order to minimize contact with your teeth. It is also a good idea to brush your teeth afterwards or drink clean water to rinse the residue out of your mouth.

Teeth grinding

A lot of people are fond of grinding their teeth when angry, excited or even unconsciously. Sliding your teeth back and forth over each other can cause serious dental problems. Constant grinding of teeth can also lead to fractured or broken teeth over time.

It has been discovered that although grinding of teeth can happen at any time, it occurs more at night time. To minimize the occurrence of night time teeth grinding, a grinding appliance can be used to prevent the teeth from touching one another and to keep the mouth slightly open, putting your temporomandibular joint5 in a more comfortable position.

Sugary snacks

Whenever we eat, the bacteria in the mouth go to work, creating acids that break down the food. These bacteria are more active when we eat sugary or starchy food. The acids that are formed by the bacteria in the mouth not only break down the food, it can also attack the teeth and gum. These can then result into tooth decay and cavity. It is advisable to eat fruits and vegetables during or after meals. These will work as natural cleansers because of their cleaning effect on plaque.

Studies have shown that chewing sugarless gum increases the flow of saliva in the mouth and so will prevent cavities. Chewing gum has been found to contain natural sweeteners that can slow the growth of bacteria which leads to tooth decay.

Chewing Ice Cubes

On a hot afternoon, what better way to cool off than popping a cube of ice in your mouth and slowing grinding it? Eating ice may give you temporary soothing from heat or whatever reason you decide to chew ice, but on the long run, it has adverse effect on your teeth and dental health. Your teeth are crystals and ice is crystals. Logically, nothing good comes of rubbing two crystals together; one will surely wear off. In the case of teeth and ice, the ice will break but the teeth will suffer also.

Chewing ice can cause damage to your teeth enamel, thereby exposing you to bacteria and tooth decay. Exposing your teeth to extreme cold can also increase the sensitivity of your teeth to change in temperature, and this is not always good.

Irregular visit to the dentist

A lot of people are afraid of the dentist chair for various reasons, but it is highly recommended you visit your dentist in North Eastham at least twice in a year for good dental health.

There are lots of reasons why people fail to keep their appointment with the dentist: Too little time from work, too busy, no problem with my teeth and all that. But regular visit to the dentist will save you more time, money, health and peace of mind on the long run.

A dental checkup with a Hammond dentist can quickly and easily detect any problem with your teeth and help you correct it before it gets out of hand.

Trying to break a habit can be rather difficult but the onus lies on you to try your best, especially as these habits can affect your negatively. Make a conscious effort to control what you put in your mouth and ensure that you brush with a fluoride toothpaste at least two times a day and floss at least once a day.

And as an extra precaution, always drink clean tap water. Water hydrates the body and keeps you in saliva which is necessary for keeping your mouth clean from bacteria that affects the enamel. In most developed countries, tap water contains fluoride which is good for strong and healthy teeth. But if you are not sure about the source of the water, go for bottled water.

  1. Arends, J., and J. M. Ten Cate. “Tooth enamel remineralization.” Journal of Crystal Growth 53.1 (1981): 135-147. ↩︎
  2. Zimmer, Stefan, et al. “Cleaning efficacy and soft tissue trauma after use of manual toothbrushes with different bristle stiffness.” Journal of periodontology 82.2 (2011): 267-271. ↩︎
  3. Tassy, Elaine. “The Chipped Tooth.” Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art 34 (2001): 188-198. ↩︎
  4. McCusker, Rachel R., Bruce A. Goldberger, and Edward J. Cone. “Caffeine content of energy drinks, carbonated sodas, and other beverages.” Journal of analytical toxicology 30.2 (2006): 112-114. ↩︎
  5. Buescher, Jennifer J. “Temporomandibular joint disorders.” American family physician 76.10 (2007): 1477-1482. ↩︎



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