7 Habits to Break for Healthier Teeth
Built with dentin and enamel, teeth are the hardest part of the human body – but despite their rocklike composition, teeth are far from indestructible.
It’s not just sugary foods & drinks and cavity-causing bacteria that wear teeth down over time. Numerous non-eating related behaviors can do a real number on your pearly whites. Protect your teeth by giving these undesirable habits the old heave-ho.
You’re Not Edward Scissormouth
Teeth are designed for chewing food, not to serve as an all-in-one tool set.
Cutting, ripping and tearing non-food materials can lead to cracked teeth, serious jaw injuries or the swallowing of dangerous items.
Give your mouth a break and snip fishing line with nail clippers, not your incisors. And never crack nuts or open bottles with your teeth.
Calm Your Nerves
Biting your nails is not just unattractive. It’s also a one-way ticket to chipped teeth.
Given that our jaws are not designed to stay in the protruded position required for nail biting for extended periods, the habit can also cause jaw dysfunction.
Bitter nail polish can help discourage biting, but it’s best to go straight to the root of the problem and lower your daily stress levels. Meanwhile, hold something for your fingers to fidget with instead of your teeth.
Catch Your Clench
Grinding or clenching your teeth lead to chipping and cracking as well as muscle and joint pain. In severe cases, it may become difficult to eat.
Patients who grind while sleeping should get into the habit of wearing a mouth guard at night. Those who clench or grind from anxiety or stress should practice relaxation exercises and make a conscious effort to recognize the signs that they are clenching.
Chewing on ice may seem harmless, but it’s also an easy way to break a tooth or knock out a filling.
If the temptation to crunch a mouthful of ice cubes is too hard to resist, get into the practice of ordering drinks without ice, or always use a straw.
Too Much of a Good Thing
Brushing twice a day is a vital part of maintaining healthy teeth and gums. But brushing too hard or with a hard brush can damage teeth and irritate gums.
Tooth brushing should be more of a massage and less of a scrub.
Goodbye Little Stick
Cleaning the space between your teeth is a job for floss, not toothpicks.
Toothpicks are far too abrasive to be rubbing on your teeth and the sharp tip can cause damage the base of your gums and lead to gum disease.
Not Just Stains & Bad Breath
It’s no secret that smoking and tobacco use can leave your mouth looking and smelling less than perfect. But did you know that tobacco is a major cause of tooth decay and gum disease, too? Oh yeah, and oral cancer.
Kicking the habit might just save your teeth and your life.