Poor brushing and flossing can certainly result in dental complications. However, your oral hygiene routine is not the only factor that keeps your smile healthy. Even the most diligent brushers engage in everyday habits that wreak havoc on their teeth. Here are 7 habits to avoid to ensure your smile stays both healthy and beautiful; some are obvious while others may surprise you.
- Smoking: Not only will chronic smoking damage your lungs, it easily discolors your teeth, produces bad breath and makes you dramatically more susceptible to gum disease.
- Nail Biting: It can be a tough habit to break, but chronic nail biters can have teeth that are worn down as well as jaw problems. According to the Academy of General Dentistry, people who bite their nails pay an average of $4,000 in additional dental bills over their lifetime!
- Ice Chomping: Like nail biting, frequent crunching on ice cubes will eventually wear down your tooth enamel and can even chip your tooth. If you have fillings in your mouth, you are even more at risk for tooth damage when you chomp.
- Cough Drops: Although throat lozenges are medicinal, most of them have a lot of sugar. If you are one that frequently sucks on cough drops for long periods of time, that sticky sugar is allowed to sit on your teeth as an open invitation to tooth decay. Look for sugar-free cough drops to ease your throat and still protect your teeth.
- Brushing Too Soon: This one may be surprising. Brushing too soon can be harmful if you have just consumed acidic food or drinks. Allowing at least an hour for your own saliva to neutralize harmful acids on your teeth before you squeeze out the toothpaste will help you avoid a tooth brushing session that is too abrasive for your tooth enamel.
- Piercings: If you buy in to the trend of a lip or tongue piercing, you are putting yourself at risk for a full list of dental problems. They can create infection, bleeding and swelling of the tongue and gums. Furthermore, the Canadian Dental Association (CDA) states that tongue, cheek or lip jewelry can cause ‘chronic injury to adjacent teeth and mucosa (inside of cheeks, lips, taste buds), including tooth fracture, and gum recession, which can lead to tooth loss.
- Mouth guard Neglect: Mouth guards are not just for football anymore. Statistics show that using a mouth guard in sports dramatically decreases mouth-related injuries. Your dentist can fit your athlete with a custom mouth guard that fits comfortably and provides full mouth protection during any game.
Gilreath Family Dentistry is committed to helping patients identify habits that are adversely affecting their dental health. Break those bad habits now and your smile will thank you in the future!
Posted on behalf of Dr. Paul Gilreath IV,