6 of the Worst Things You Can Do to Your Teeth

Have you ever wondered if some of your bad habits may actually be doing harm to your teeth? Perhaps you have a dental appointment in the near future and are concerned about what your dentist will say regarding the prognosis for your eroding gum line?

Discover how you might be doing your teeth a major disservice, and find out more about alternative solutions to your more teeth-harming habits.

1. Biting Your Nails
Don’t be fooled into thinking that biting your nails is only bad for your cuticles—it can also lead to tooth breakage and even splintering of the enamel on your teeth. Furthermore, nail biting is a hygiene concern as it facilitates the spread of germs between your hands and mouth. When you notice the urge to bite, opt for a substitute like gum chewing or reaching for an activity that requires the use of your hands.

2. Brushing Too Hard
You might think that this is the best way to scrub away germs and food residue, but brushing too hard can have serious repercussions, including wearing away tooth enamel, causing teeth to become sensitive to cold, and even producing cavities. Additionally, brushing too vigorously can seriously irritate the gums. To avoid this problem, always use a soft bristled toothbrush and only apply a gentle amount of pressure when brushing.

3. Teeth Grinding
Bruxism is a condition wherein you clench or grind your teeth, usually done unconsciously over the course of the day and even while sleeping. Should you be experiencing jaw pain, it is highly possible that it is the result of your unconsciously clenching. There are, however, many remedies for this condition, some of which include using a mouth guard or taking a muscle relaxant prior to sleeping and even engaging in stress management therapy (helping to better promote relaxation).

4. Chewing Ice
If you are one of the many people that chew on ice (or pencils or anything else for that matter), you might want to reconsider. Not only do these hard objects cause damage to your teeth by wearing down the enamel and exposing the tooth dentin (weakening the tooth and causing sensitivity), but also sharp parts of any object can puncture the gums. Ice especially exposes your teeth to hot and cold temperatures in a short period of time that it otherwise is not prepared for, which can crack the tooth enamel. Should you be an ice chewer, elect for gum instead.

5. Using Teeth as a Tool
One of the absolute worst things you can do to your teeth is use them for purposes for which they were not intended. Some of these might include using your teeth to rip tags off of clothing items, unscrew bottle tops, or open packages. Make a conscious effort to ensure that you reach for a pair of scissors or other tool when appropriate—and not your teeth!

6. Soda Drinking
Carbonated beverages are bad for your teeth in that they are incredibly acidic, resulting in decay and enamel loss. If possible, choose an alternative option like water that does not have any negative effects to your pearly whites. If laying off the soda is not a viable option, try drinking through a straw as this prevents your teeth from constantly being immersed in acidic liquid.

Take a minute to consider whether you’re one of the many who engage in some of these not-so-teeth-friendly habits, then consider how you might best go about eliminating them from your daily routine. For more tooth-related information or help achieving the healthy smile you want, contact your dentist today.