Habits That Might Be Ruining Your Teeth

At James A. Penney, III, DDS, PA Endodontics, we know how important natural smiles are. Here are a few common habits with dental consequences many people don’t consider.

Using your Teeth as a Tool.

Your teeth serve many different purposes in keeping your body healthy. The enamel on the chewing surface of your teeth is the strongest substance your body produces. Teeth should not be used for anything but eating.

  • Nail clippers. Biting your nails is an unhealthy habit. Lots of germs live under your nails. You could develop jaw issues if the habit becomes long-term. You nails will also be unsightly. Carry a pair of nail clippers with you. You might need to invest in a few nail clippers to keep around. Keep one in your purse or laptop bag, one in your car for when you are sitting in traffic, one at home, keep one at the office, and anywhere else you might find yourself biting your nails.
  • Having nail clippers on hand is also a great way to avoid using your teeth as a tool for other things. How do you usually handle opening difficult packages? Opening plastic packages with your teeth is also bad for them for many reasons.
  • While nail clippers are great in a pinch, you might consider also keeping a pair of scissors handy for larger jobs. Never open packages with your teeth.
  • When you don’t have an extra hand. Don’t use your teeth to take lids off tupperware. You should also avoid using your teeth to carry things when your hands a full, like extra groceries.

Brushing too Hard.

Use your toothpaste to “brush” not “scrub” your teeth. Your enamel can be worn down from being brushed with too much ferocity.

If you find yourself having to replace your toothbrush more often than every few months due to worn-down bristles, it is likely you are brushing too hard. Choose to brush with a soft ADA approved toothbrush. Maybe put a note on your bathroom mirror to help you remember to relax.

Bad Snacking Habits.

There are so many snacking habits that are bad for your teeth. Snacking, by nature, is not good for your teeth. After you eat, your teeth need time to neutralize acidic levels and rebuild enamel strength. Not giving your teeth enough time between meals could make them susceptible to damage or decay because they are chewing food with weaker enamel.

  • Chewing on ice.  For many, this is a much needed stress relief throughout the day, or a calorie-free snack to enjoy. However, when you chew on ice you risk breaking a tooth. Enamel is strong, but ice is strong too.
  • Candy. No surprises here. Everyone has probably heard that candy is bad for your teeth. Gummy candy gets stuck to your teeth in those hard-to-reach areas. Hard candy is not gentle on your enamel. Even cough drops aren’t easy on your teeth.
  • Sugary, carbonated drinks. This includes fruit drinks, soft drinks, sports drink, coffee, and even wine. If you can’t cut sugary drinks out of your diet, at least drink a glass of water after. The water will help rinse the sugar off your teeth and neutralize the acids in your mouth.
  • Starchy snacks. Foods like potato chips and popcorn get stuck to your teeth. Just like gummy candy, they can reach and hang out in the small crevices of your teeth.
  • Lemons. This is not a common snacking habits, but we’re mentioning it anyways. It’s not a good idea to suck on lemons. Lemons have many health benefits. However, with their acidic level they should not be applied directly to your teeth.