Everyday Habits That Damage Your Teeth & Why You Should Stop Them

teeth damage

If you’re biting on the end of your pen as you’re reading this, you’re going to want to hear what we have to say! When it comes to our little bad habits, sometimes we tell ourselves that they are just that: little problems.

It could be worse, right?

But things, like chewing on ice and biting your nails, can do a lot of damage to your teeth. We already know you’re guilty of doing some of these – most of the time, we can tell just by looking at your mouth.

Some of the everyday habits that we have are destructive to our pearly whites. And tricky thing about these habits is that you might not even notice that you’re doing them. But for the sake of your teeth and your smile, we want you to be aware of them and work towards stopping them!

1. Brushing too hard

Yes, contrary to popular belief, it is possible to brush too hard! While we are proud of you for getting around to brushing twice a day for at least two minutes straight, there is one more thing that you want to be aware of. Brushing your teeth with too much pressure can often wear down the enamel.

2. Eating cough drops too often

Let’s be honest here – who eats cough drops as candy? Apparently, a lot of us do.

While these little treats are great at soothing the throat and eliminating a bad cough, they are full of sugar and can do the same amount of damage to your teeth as any other hard candy. We’re talking cavities.
So if you are sucking on cough drops to get over a cold, be sure to brush your teeth after a few minutes.

3. Drinking coffee

Over 80% of Americans drink coffee, a lot of us have gotten into the habit of drinking at least one cup a day. While these caffeinated drinks are delicious and keep you productive, they can stain your teeth permanently.

Getting out of the habit of drinking coffee can be difficult – if you are trying to eliminate it from your diet, we recommend starting slowly and phasing it out.

4. Grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw

This one is tough to notice. But if you ever wake up with a sore or aching jaw, it’s likely that you grind your teeth in your sleep. But besides causing a sore jaw or joint pain, this bad habit can cause chipping and cracking in your teeth.

Grinding teeth is also known as bruxism and it can lead to serious problems like Temporomandibular Joint Disorder or orthodontic irregularities. Too much pressure on the jaw can disrupt the growth and development of the jaw and skeletal system, resulting in costly orthodontic treatment later on in life. If you’re worried about your oral health, you can learn more from our orthodontist friend, Dr. Dan, from Showtime Smiles in McKinney. His comprehensive guide to orthodontics contains information and advice about issues like this.

Since it’s especially difficult to notice whether you’re grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw, you have to be hyper-aware of any pain you have in your mouth. If you find that you tend to clench your jaw, try practicing some relaxation techniques to release the pressure in the lower part of your face. In addition to that, mouth guards can help if you find out that you grind your teeth.

5. Chewing on ice

If you have sensitive teeth, then there’s very little chance that you do this. But for those of you out there who do chew on your ice… stop!

Besides sounding painful to your sensitive-toothed peers, chewing ice can crack or chip your teeth if you happen to bite on it the wrong way. In addition to that, chewing on ice can dislodge fillings or other dental work that you had done.

6. Biting your nails

Another one of those compulsive habits. A lot of times, we don’t even know that we’re doing it! But biting your nails is bad for both your teeth and your nails, since you could possibly hurt not only your teeth and gums but also your stomach.

Some ways that you can kick this habit is by wearing a bad-tasting nail polish, so that you become more aware of the habit and can start making a conscious effort to stop. You can also work on finding out what triggers your nail-biting, and work towards reducing stress.

7. Biting on pens or pencils

Somehow, the little cap on your pen always ends up in your mouth. This is just not hygienic… and it can damage your teeth! Like many of these other habits, biting on pens or pencils can hurt your enamel. If you have braces or orthodontic work, it can damage your brackets and wires… It’s just not worth it!

8. Using your teeth as tools

Back in the day, being able to open a bag of chips with your teeth made you the coolest kid on the playground. Nowadays, it could get you a cracked or chipped tooth. While using your teeth to open or break off something is handy, it’s dangerous for the health of your teeth.
Also, it’s weird.

Don’t worry, we’re not judging you. These bad habits are common for a reason – a lot of people are guilty of them! But for the sake of your teeth, it is important to stop. Here at New Generation Dentistry in Mission Viejo, we are committed to helping you live a healthier lifestyle, starting with a healthy smile. Book an appointment with us today!