Many of the things you do each day are habits, including things related to oral care! It’s no surprise that not all habits are good ones. Many of your oral health habits might actually be bad habits that are putting your teeth and gums as risk for damage and pain. Knowing which habits are bad can save you money when it comes to dentist bills, so keep reading to see which ones we recommend you cut out immediately.
Top 7 poor oral health habits to quit today
Brushing too hard or skipping brushing altogether
We’ve all learned the importance of brushing our teeth every day. But even though you practice this good habit, it can still cause problems for your teeth! Brushing your teeth too hard can irritate gums and erode tooth enamel, pretty much negating the good effects of regular brushing.
If you’re not already brushing regularly, it’s a habit you should start. Dentists recommend brushing in the morning and evening every day, and after meals if possible.
Better habit: Use a soft bristled toothbrush to gently massage your teeth and gums. Try brushing with a circular motion instead of side to side.
Putting anything other than food and drinks in your mouth
Biting or chewing anything that isn’t food can damage any dental work you’ve had done, cause a crack or chip to appear, create jaw problems or wear down teeth & promote decay. Even habits like chewing ice, biting pens or pencils, holding a toothpick in your teeth or holding your keys with your teeth can result in these issues.
Better habit: Carry a bag to lighten your load in your hands, use alcohol swabs to make pens or pencils taste unpleasant and stop chewing ice.
Have questions for our dentists on maintaining optimal oral health? Looking for a new dentist in the Oakville, Burlington or Milton area? We’d love to have you!
Drinking sugary beverages
Drinks filled with sugar might taste good, but they expose your teeth to damaging sugars. This feeds the bacteria in your mouth which causes plaque to grow at a much quicker rate than if you don’t feed it sugar, leading to gum and tooth decay.
Better habit: Break the habit of drinking juice, sports drinks, and pop by choosing tap water.
Drinking wine and other alcohol
Better habit: Sip water between drinks and chew sugar-free gum to stimulate saliva production.
Smoking and using tobacco
While this may be one of the more obvious bad habits for your teeth, there are still a significant number of Canadians still smoking and using tobacco, so it has to be said! Tobacco use is one of the most destructive things you can do for your mouth. It can lead to tooth discolouration, bad breath, decreased jaw bone density, gum disease and even mouth cancer.
Better habit: Talk to your doctor about making a plan to help you quit.
Biting your nails is a bad habit for 2 main reasons: it can increase the risk of cracking or chipping your teeth, and it invites bacteria from under your nails into your mouth. Allowing bacteria to take up residence is just asking for an infection or illness!
Better habit: Keep your nails trimmed so you aren’t as tempted to bite them. For help breaking the habit, try buying a nail polish that gives a bad taste if you put it in your mouth.
Snacking all day and eating late at night
Regular snacking causes bacteria to feast on the food particles left in your mouth which can result in cavities and sensitive gums. Eating late in the evening means your saliva doesn’t have enough time to wash away all those food particles before you go to bed, and while you sleep your saliva production slows down significantly.
Better habit: Eat regular meals to cut back on snacking through the day and brush your teeth after your last food of the day.
See your dentist for regular checkups
Even if you avoid bad habits, it’s still imperative that you visit your dentist for regular cleanings! They can help you stay on top of any potential concerns and suggest ways to keep your teeth in top shape.