Avoiding Bad Habits Can Help Your Teeth Last Longer

Published:May 2nd, 2012

You have a great daily oral hygiene routine, and are even meticulous about flossing every day. You visit your dentist at regular intervals, and have your teeth cleaned professionally. So what else can you do to help protect your teeth? Hopefully you’re already doing such a great job it’ll be enough, but many of us have bad habits which we are often completely unaware of doing, but which could be damaging your teeth.

  • Crunching on ice cubes. Crunching up an ice cube might seem very harmless, as after all it’s calorie free and sugar free. But it can chip or crack your teeth, and can even lead to the gum tissue becoming irritated. If you’re in the habit of crunching up ice cubes, and you notice eating hot and cold foods triggers pain then you may have already damaged your teeth. If you must have something to munch on, it’s far better to chew sugar free gum.
  • Playing sports without a mouth guard. This is a huge risk to your teeth, as a mouth guard protects your teeth from becoming chipped or cracked or even knocked out completely. You can purchase ready-made mouth guards at the chemists or online, and can try to mould them to fit your teeth, or you can get them custom-made at your dentist. The advantage of having a custom-made mouthguard is it will offer optimum protection as it will fit your teeth perfectly, and it’s a whole lot cheaper than paying out for replacement teeth.
  • Having your tongue pierced. It might have seemed like a great idea at the time, but as well as being extremely painful to have done it can also cause considerable damage to your teeth. The metal stud is likely to clank around, creating chips and cracks in your teeth. If the metal rubs against gums it can irritate them and damage them, and this could eventually lead to tooth loss. Tongue piercings carry a considerable risk of infection, as bacteria love the warm damp environment.
  • Grinding your teeth at night. Teeth grinding or to give it its proper medical term, bruxism, is a very efficient at wearing down teeth over time. It’s likely to cause chips and cracks, and can damage the gums. The condition is often exacerbated by poor sleeping habits and stress, but wearing a mouthguard night can help protect the teeth and can be enough to break the habit.
  • Constantly having fizzy drinks. Fizzy drinks can be incredibly high in sugar, as they can have as much as 11 teaspoons in just one serving. These drinks also contain high amounts of citric and phosphoric acids which are very good at eating away at tooth enamel. The diet versions are no better as they tend to be higher in acid due to the artificial sweeteners.
  • Opening up packaging with your teeth. This is something a lot of people do as teeth can often seem like a convenient substitute for scissors, but it can cause considerable damage to your teeth, especially if you use them as bottle openers.
  • Chewing on pens and pencils. This is a common habit many of us got into at school, but these are hard objects and want to your teeth any good. If you need to chew on something then try sugar free chewing gum, especially gum containing xylitol as this is beneficial for dental health.

About the author

Alison, is a UK born and educated dental professional with over 25 years experience.

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