We all do a million and one little things every day that, in the long run, can have some serious consequences for our teeth. Obviously it’s important you schedule routine dental cleanings with your dentist, as well as brush and floss everyday as part of your daily oral hygiene routine—but what about all those in-between moments? What are some bad habits that can ruin your teeth no matter how much care you usually take?
Smoking or chewing tobacco.
In addition to all the other health complications brought on by cigarettes, smoking or chewing tobacco can have some serious consequences on your smile! The nicotine in cigarettes can yellow your teeth as well as cause oral cancer in the long run. Smoking also irritates your gum tissue and reduces blood flow, causing your gums to recede. Gum recession exposes the roots of your teeth, making them much more vulnerable to tooth decay. Chewing tobacco is even worse because it puts the tobacco and other carcinogens right up alongside your sensitive gum tissue.
Using your teeth to open things.
We’ve all been there—you can’t get the bag of chips to open so you just rip it open with your teeth. While it’s definitely an immediate solution it is far from a good one! Using your teeth to open things can crack and break your teeth. Once a tooth is cracked it is at greater risk for tooth decay and if your natural tooth wears down enough you may require a porcelain veneer to fix it one day. Stick with scissors next time you need to open something.
Chewing on hard objects such as ice and pencils, biting your nails and so forth can also cause your teeth to crack or break. We’ve even had patients crack their teeth on a piece of un-popped popcorn!
Eating sticky, sugary candy.
Sugar is the number one enemy to your teeth and the longer it sticks around the more damage it can do! Think about the last time you had a bunch of gummy candy—how much time did you have to spend picking little bits out from your teeth? Jelly and gummy candies are harder to wash away, which mean the sugar in them just hangs around your teeth, feeding the acid-causing bacteria that live in your mouth.
Brushing your teeth too soon.
This might sound crazy, but brushing your teeth immediately after eating or drinking can actually do more damage than good! A lot of the food we eat is highly acidic, which can weaken the enamel on our teeth. If you brush too soon after eating you haven’t given the enamel enough time to re-mineralize and you might actually be brushing your enamel away! Wait at least 30 minutes after eating or drinking to give your enamel some time to harden up again.
These are just four bad habits that can ruin a perfectly good set of chompers in the end. If you have any concerns about other daily habits and their impact on your teeth be sure to ask your dentist at your next appointment!