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This Month In Health
  • Chew on This
    You know the rules to brush twice a day and floss regularly to take care of your teeth, but are you doing that? Or do you give yourself a break now and again? Either way, there are probably some other habits you have that are harming your pearly whites each and every day. Read >>
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Health and Fitness News

Chew on This

Habits that are wrecking your teeth.

You’ve got one set of teeth and ideally they need to last your whole life. Unfortunately, a lot of people live without some or all of their teeth, and we’re not just talking about elderly folks. Many people wear dentures, but all of them wish they still had a full set of teeth.

You know the rules to brush twice a day and floss regularly to take care of your teeth, but are you doing that? Or do you give yourself a break now and again? Either way, there are probably some other habits you have that are harming your pearly whites each and every day.

Here are a few you may be guilty of.

Repurposing Teeth

Your teeth are meant to bite and chew food, not to snap off clothing tags, open packages, remove bottle caps, or bite fingernails. When you use your teeth for a purpose other than what they’re designed for, they’re at risk for cracking or chipping them. As if that’s not bad enough, these unnatural tooth habits put your jaw at risk for injury. Find a pair of scissors or another appropriate tool and protect your teeth for the long run.

Overindulging in Sugar

Sugar is the natural enemy of all teeth. The bacteria in your mouth love to feed on sugar. When they do, they produce acid that deteriorates tooth enamel, causing decay. The more your teeth are exposed to sugar, whether you eat it all the time or don’t wash it away after eating, the more damage it does. Sticky, chewy candies are some of the worst offenders. Limit the amount of sugar you consume and when you do eat sugar, eat it with a meal so your saliva has a better chance to wash it away.

Drinking Soda or Alcohol

Soda isn’t only high in sugar, but it’s also acidic, meaning it’s doubly bad for your teeth. Alcohol is an acidic beverage as well, but also one that reduces the amount of saliva your mouth produces. Without saliva to cover your teeth, any acid that winds up in your mouth is more likely to do damage. Avoid soda and limit the amount of alcohol you drink and your teeth will thank you.

Chewing Ice

It may be a nervous habit or something you crave, but chewing ice cubes is dangerous to your teeth. In fact, chewing anything super hard puts your teeth at risk for breaking, cracking, or chipping. And while you may not realize it, chewing ice can damage a filling. When you feel the urge to chew on ice, reach for a piece of sugarless chewing gum instead.

Using a Firm Toothbrush

You may think you’re doing a better job of cleaning your teeth when you brush hard or use a firm toothbrush, but you may actually be harming your teeth and gums. Hard brushing can wear away enamel or cause your gums to recede. Put the hard brush away. Instead, brush twice a day with a soft bristle toothbrush, gently massaging the teeth rather than scrubbing them.

Grinding or Clenching

It may happen in your sleep or unconsciously when you’re stressed, but grinding or clenching your teeth can cause cracking, chipping, and even cause your teeth to wear away. Your jaw may also become sore. If you notice this habit happening during the day, practice relaxation techniques. Grinding or clenching at night? Wear a mouthguard while you sleep.

Tobacco

Whether you smoke or chew, tobacco is harmful to your teeth and gums. If you smoke, prepare to deal with gum disease, periodontal disease, tooth staining, tooth decay, and oral cancer. For your overall health, take steps to quit smoking or chewing tobacco.