Like most people, you probably practice good dental care. You brush twice a day, floss regularly, and see your dentist for check-ups a couple times a year. That’s a good start, but you’re probably also engaging in a number of common bad habits. Here’s a list of some of the most common bad dental habits you should try to drop today.
Sucking and Crunching Ice
One of the most common bad dental habits people exhibit is drinking down iced tea, soda, or another drink, and then sucking and biting the ice that’s left over. It may seem harmless, but this is an extremely bad habit to hold onto. The cold temperature of ice, in combination with its brittleness, can actually cause teeth to fracture, which could mean a full-blown dental emergency.
This can also cause microscopic cracks to form in the teeth’s enamel, which can lead to much more serious dental problems in the long run. Crushed ice is much less harmful than larger cubes, but if you ask most dentists, they’ll tell you it’s still something to avoid. Biting down on popcorn kernels and fruit pips poses a similar danger.
Using your Teeth as a Tool
Thankfully, this bad habit has become much less common over the years, but it’s still one that many people are guilty of. Talk to the staff at a clinic like Southview Dentistry, and you’ll hear about patients who have been known to use their teeth for all kinds of odd jobs.
Tearing open bags of snacks, uncapping bottles of nail polish, straightening a bent fork, and even unscrewing stubborn bolts. Yes, our teeth are tools, but should be reserved for eating only! Using your pearly whites for all these different odd jobs can cause major trauma to the teeth, and in many cases, can chip off the edge of a weakened tooth.
Grinding your Teeth
No matter how often you catch yourself grinding your teeth, this bad habit will wear your teeth down. Teeth grinding can be caused by a range of things, including excessive stress and anxiety, but it’s much more likely to be caused by missing or crooked teeth, or an otherwise abnormal bite.
If your dentist finds that you’ve been grinding your teeth at night, they may suggest wearing a mouth guard. Custom dentist-made ones cost a lot more than over-the-counter ones from a sports store, but they’re almost certain to fit better, and work more effectively.
Using a Hard-Bristled Brush
It’s an unfortunately common misconception that the firmer the toothbrush’s bristles, the better it will work. This is false, especially if you’re an older adult. As we age, our gums naturally peel back from the teeth, and the roots of the teeth become more and more exposed, often making way for increased sensitivity. The roots of your teeth are covered in cementum, which is worn away much more easily than the enamel.
Hard-bristled brushes will irritate the gums, and cause more sensitivity. If you’re on a firm brush, switch to a softer model, like the ones sold at Walgreens.