Practising good oral hygiene means more than just preventing cavities and brushing your teeth twice a day. It’s also about protecting your enamel, caring for your gums, and reducing bacterial build-up. Here are seven bad habits that could be damaging your teeth
1. Not Drinking Enough Water
If you aren’t drinking enough water every day, you’re not doing your teeth any favours. Dehydration can contribute to dry mouth, and according to the American Dental Association, dry mouth can lead to dental decay, enamel loss, tooth sensitivity, and other conditions.
To keep yourself properly hydrated, make sure you’re drinking water throughout the day.
2. Biting Your Nails
In case you needed another reason to keep your hands away from your face, consider this: nail biting can ruin your teeth! When you bite your nails, you’re putting unnecessary stress on your jaw and wearing away the enamel on your teeth.
Need a little help kicking the nail-biting habit? Try applying bitter-tasting nail polish, and work on reducing your overall stress levels.
3. Brushing Too Vigorously
While brushing your teeth is vital for keeping them healthy, it’s possible to take it too far! Brushing your teeth too vigorously can wear down the protective enamel layer, promoting cavities and tooth decay.
Instead, think of brushing your teeth as a massage for your mouth! Use gentle strokes and a soft-bristled toothbrush to make sure your brushing habits are helping, not hurting.
4. Chewing Ice
Chewing on the ice in your drink may seem like an innocuous habit, but the consequences can be surprisingly dire! Ice is very hard—hard enough to chip teeth and break fillings, in fact!
Other long-term effects of chewing ice include jaw pain and tooth sensitivity. Avoid chewing ice as much as possible to help protect your teeth.
In addition to other harmful health effects like oral cancer and respiratory disease, smoking is bad for your teeth too. Smoking increases the amount of plaque and bacteria on your teeth, often leading to gum disease and even tooth loss.
And while stubborn surface stains and bad breath aren’t quite as bad as gum disease, they’re not problems you want to deal with either!
6. Using Your Teeth As Tools
We’ve probably all used our teeth at some point to open a stubborn bag of chips or to rip a piece of packing tape. But using your teeth as tools can easily lead to chipped teeth, broken fillings, and even mouth injuries!
Keep several pairs of scissors handy around the house to dissuade yourself and your family from using your teeth to open or rip things.
7. Brushing Too Quickly
Are you brushing your teeth long enough? The ADA recommends brushing your teeth twice a day for 2 full minutes each time. Brushing for 2 minutes removes more plaque, and gives the fluoride in your toothpaste enough time to do its job.
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