Dental Habits to Kiss Goodbye
Let’s face it, we’re all a little guilty of developing some bad dental habits at one point or another. What’s really the harm in not flossing every day or skipping a brushing now and then? Have you ever stopped to consider that you may be causing damage to your teeth when you hold something between your teeth like a set of car keys to momentarily free up your hands. Can it really be a good thing to tear or pry something open with your teeth? It can be very easy to fall into some bad habits and take your dental health for granted. In order to develop excellent oral hygiene practices and maintain good dental health it’s important to kick those bad habits for good.
Say Goodbye Forever to 8 Bad Dental Habits
Below is a list of some of the most common bad dental habits that are easily acquired and why those habits should be eliminated.
Poor Brushing Habits
We all know how important it is to brush our teeth but did you realize that brushing your teeth too vigorously can do more harm than good. Brushing too hard can wear down tooth structure and cause gums to become irritated and even recede. Tooth sensitivity, exposed roots and even loose teeth can result. Brushing incorrectly or using the wrong type of toothbrush can also contribute to deterioration of the teeth and gums. Using a soft bristle toothbrush is best and learning proper gentle brushing techniques from your dentist will help preserve those precious pearly whites.
Failing to Floss
We have all heard over and over again the importance of flossing yet this is still one good habit that is tough to make stick. Failing to floss on a routine basis or even at all is something that many of us are guilty of. It’s time to search for that little container of floss, keep it right next to your toothbrush, and be sure to use it every day. Just remember that bacteria loves to accumulate and hide between teeth, destroying enamel and causing cavities to develop, and the only way to truly get those areas between your teeth clean is by flossing.
Consuming Sugary Foods and Acidic Beverages
Eating a proper and nutritious diet is one way to help promote good oral health. Many of us have a serious weakness, however, for lots of sugary treats and/or beverages loaded with sugar and acid. Consuming too many sugary foods and allowing that sugar to remain on the teeth after eating can accelerate tooth decay. Beverages that are high in sugar and loaded with acids such as soda, juice, coffee, tea and energy drinks can also contribute to cavities and the destruction of tooth enamel. Cutting back or eliminating sugary treats will help. If you do eat or drink anything high in sugar or acidic content be sure to rinse your mouth with water immediately after and brush your teeth as soon as possible.
Using Your Teeth as a Tool
If you’ve ever used your teeth to tear open a package, turn the cap on a bottle, tear off a price tag, or pry something open you are putting your teeth in harms way and making them prone to cracks or breaks. This can also damage existing dental work. Instead of using your teeth as a tool buy a Swiss army knife.
Crunching on Ice
Chewing on hard objects such as pens, pencils or your fingernails or crunching on ice cubes can be one of the worst things for your teeth. This practice makes your teeth susceptible to fractures, cracks and chips and wears away at the enamel which can also promote tooth decay.
Do You Grind Your Teeth or Clench Your Jaw
These habits (the technical term is bruxism) can be very hard to break particularly because most people don’t even realize they are doing it. Grinding your teeth often occurs during sleep and can be caused by stress or anxiety, missing teeth, or an abnormal bite. Headaches, tooth sensitivity, and jaw pain are a few signs of bruxism so if you are experiencing any or all of these symptoms, or you know you are grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw, it is important to consult with your dentist for solutions to correct the problem. If left untreated the long term effects can be quite serious from tooth fractures to bone loss.
Foods and Beverages That Stain
Coffee, tea and wine are all beverages that can stain teeth. There are several drinks, as well as foods, that can be harsh on tooth enamel and cause discoloration and staining. Avoiding or cutting back on these items is ideal. You can also consult with your dentist on the best methods to remove stains and whiten teeth.
Avoiding the Dentist
Going to the dentist is most likely not on anyone’s top 10 list of favorite things to do but routine visits to your dentist for cleanings and checkups will help to keep yourdental health in tip top condition. Be sure to keep those scheduled dental appointments and if you experience persistent problems like bleeding gums, gum or tooth pain, mouth sores, etc. be sure to contact your dentist.
A habit is merely a behavior that is repeated regularly and becomes routine. It typically tends to occur subconsciously without any real thought. It’s never too late to break a bad dental habit but you first need to recognize that it is a bad habit that can have detrimental effects on your oral health. It can initially take some effort to break the behavior but once you do it can be replaced by healthy dental habits that will have you on the road to great dental health.
You are invited to call Dr. Scott Williams at Ascent Family Dental (970) 351-6095 for all of your dental needs. Dr. Williams is passionate about educating his patients on how to properly care for their teeth.