We’ve all heard those dental habits you should be practicing regularly – floss, brush twice a day, see your dentist for your cleanings. But there are also dental habits you should stay away from that you might not be aware of. Here are three that you should avoid (or break, if you’ve already adopted them!).
Brushing too hard. Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body, but even it can only take so much. Brushing too hard or with a toothbrush that’s too hard can damage your teeth and irritate your gums. Keep up the habit of brushing twice a day, but consider doing it with a soft bristle toothbrush. It may also help to think of brushing not as scrubbing your teeth clean but massaging them.
Constant snacking. Munching on foods all day puts you at higher risk for cavities. Sugary foods and drinks increase that risk even more. Every time you eat, the food that remains on your teeth provide a feast for bacteria in your mouth, which then produce an acid that attacks your teeth enamel. Instead of having several small snacks in between meals, try to make your meals more balanced so that you stay fuller for longer. If you have a snack, try to make sure it’s low in sugar and fat, and if you should give in to the occasional treat, follow it up with a glass of water to wash away leftover food.
Biting non-food items. This includes fingernails, ice, or using your teeth to hold or cut open things (like tape). Biting your nails is detrimental to your teeth not just because it can chip them, but because it can impact your jaw. When you chew ice, it’s normally the ice cube that breaks down, but sometimes a tooth or filling may break, so it’s best to avoid that habit and just leave the ice to cool down your drink. Your teeth are meant to be used to break down food, and they’re really good at that job. If you ask them to do more, they might not be able to handle it.
Just remember that if you treat your teeth well, they’ll serve you well.