How to Get and Keep a Healthier Smile
We all want to feel comfortable flashing a smile at a stranger in passing or grinning wide for memorable photos. But if we’ve allowed our oral hygiene to slide, we might feel embarrassed by discolored and yellow teeth. At the same time, it’s not always just about dental care! Bad habits we perform in our day-to-day can drastically impact and damage our teeth. So, what less-than-ideal habits might be getting in the way of your dental health (and consequently, your bright smile!)?
Bad Habits You Should Leave Behind for Better Teeth
We all know we should brush multiple times and floss daily. But when isn’t that enough? What habits might hinder these efforts for optimal dental health? Here are the ones you want to quit!
Habit #1: Smoking
This one is fairly obvious, but a reminder never hurts! Smoking cigarettes or using tobacco products can lead to stains on the teeth, gum disease, and even tooth loss. It often also encourages bad breath and may also cause tooth decay. Not ideal!
Plus, smoking has various repercussions on the rest of our health, including our lungs, heart, skin and more. If you’re a smoker, one of the best things you can do for your health is quit.
Habit #2: Chewing Ice
After downing a refreshing, cold beverage, we might be tempted to crunch on the leftover ice. But this can seriously damage your teeth! Crunching down on some ice can lead to issues with the tooth enamel, including chips or cracks. In turn, you might find yourself seeking out emergency dental work.
Habit #3: Biting Your Nails
Nail biting doesn’t just leave your hands a mess. It can also cause the wearing down of your teeth. In the worst-case scenario, it might even lead to chips or cracks. On top of this, it can lead to jaw joint pain or dysfunction. And this can significantly impact your day-to-day life.
Lastly, nail biting brings harmful bacteria into your mouth. This is bad for your teeth and your gut! Whatever bacteria ends up in your mouth can inevitably travel downward and disrupt regular digestion. With this habit, you could even get seriously ill, such as with the stomach flu or a bad cold.
Habit #4: Treating Your Teeth Like a Tool
Do you often use your teeth to tear the packaging open? This isn’t a good habit to get into!
Over time, this can wear down the teeth. Additionally, it can cause chips or cracks at the moment. Jaw damage may also occur if this is something you frequently do. Instead, grab those scissors or another tool instead of biting down.
Habit #5: Grinding Your Teeth
While stress can lead to grinding or clenching of the jaw, it’s important to be aware of this and aim to prevent it. If you’re waking up with a sore jaw, this could be a sign you’re doing this in your sleep. The problem? It can seriously wear down your teeth and even lead to cracks or chips (and dental emergencies!).
In many cases, your dentist can provide a mouth guard or other tips to help you avoid this, even if you do it absentmindedly or when sleeping.
Habit #6: Thumb Sucking
While often reserved for young children, we don’t want this habit to continue for much longer! For children ages five years or older, this bad habit can lead to an overbite or misalignment of the teeth. This can cost thousands of dollars to correct!
Habit #7: Brushing Your Teeth Too Hard
Surprisingly, this can be an issue! You might think you’re doing your gums and teeth tons of good, but the truth is that brushing too hard can irritate the gums and even erode the enamel of the teeth. Instead of brushing vigorously, try gentle brushing for one to two minutes.
Habit #8: Chewing on Pencils and Pens
While in an ever-increasing digital world, these entities are being used less and less; if you write regularly, this can become problematic. You may even do this absentmindedly as you concentrate on a test or essay.
But the issue is that this can place a ton of pressure on your teeth and gums, leading to decay, chips, cracks and more. Eventually, this may even lead to jaw pain or even damage to the jaw joint.
Develop Better Dental Care Habits
While it can be tough to change our habits, often, it’s entirely worthwhile. When it comes to dental health, looking after our teeth can have huge spillover consequences, such as better gut health, more confidence and a radiating smile.
Generally, anything that puts pressure on our teeth, we want to avoid. Quitting smoking or using tobacco also has incredible benefits for your teeth and overall health. Don’t forget to brush gently and floss every day for strong and clean teeth! For all other concerns, book an appointment with your dentist to ensure everything is A-Okay when it comes to your dental and oral health.
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