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When you hear the words “bad dental habits,” what do you think of? We all are capable of committing them, even those of us who brush twice a day, floss on a regular basis, and maintain appointments with our dentist. It is these bad habits mentioned below that can overshadow all of the good habits we practice when it comes to our dental health.

  1. Crunching on hard foods. While some of us may enjoy eating ice, this can cause hard to spot fractures in the surface of the teeth’s enamel, which can lead to issues that are much worse if the problem goes unresolved. We aren’t saying you have to quit eating ice, but try to get crushed ice if possible since the pieces are smaller. Popcorn kernels also cause fractures, as well as fruit pits. Aim for healthier snacks to crunch on, such as celery or carrots.
  2. Slurping on soda. It is common knowledge that sugar-filled sodas are not good for our teeth, as the sugar and acid cause tooth decay. If you drink soda, try to sip through a straw so there is a reduced amount of soda coming into contact with your teeth. Position the straw toward the back of your mouth; do not rest it against your teeth.
  3. Using your teeth to open things. Are you one of those people who use their teeth to open chip bags, rip off clothing tags, etc.? This can cause your teeth to chip and/or fracture. Use the tools made to open items, such as scissors.
  4. Teeth grinding. Some of us grind our teeth due to stress and/or anxiety, but this is mainly caused by an abnormal bite or from missing or crooked teeth. Teeth grinding causes your teeth to wear down, so talk to your dentist about wearing a mouth guard. These can be purchased over-the-counter or your dentist can make you a custom piece. In addition to the mouth guard, you can also cut back on food and drinks containing caffeine and cut back on alcohol. Refrain from chewing on items that aren’t food, such as pencils or pens. If the mouth guard isn’t an option for you, you can try to position the tip of your tongue between your teeth during the day. At nighttime, wet a cloth in warm water and press it against your cheek in front of your earlobe. These two methods help train your jaw muscles to relax.
  5. Using the wrong toothbrush. Some believe that a hard bristled toothbrush is better for cleaning our teeth. This is false, especially for those older in age. As we grow older, our gums push back and the roots of our teeth become exposed. This increases our level of sensitivity. Tooth roots are covered with cementum and this wears away easier than enamel. Hard bristled brushes irritate the gums, leading to sensitive teeth.
  6. Not having a regular cleaning routine. Brush twice a day, replacing your brush every three or four months. Floss every day and use antiseptic rinses (these help prevent gum disease, bad breath, and tooth decay) once or twice a day.