8 Common Habits That Can Ruin Your Teeth

8 Common Habits That Can Ruin Your Teeth

Your teeth are the main factor in your smile, and the first part of your digestive system. You need your teeth for everything from creating a beaming countenance to chewing your food thoroughly. Unfortunately, as strong as they are, teeth can be easily damaged. In fact, you might have some habits that are bound to ruin your teeth. 

Our team at A Briter Smile Dental in Highland Park, Los Angeles, California, wants your teeth to stay healthy, strong, and bright for life. That’s why we recommend biannual dental exams with professional cleanings. To keep your smile white and healthy, avoid these habits that can ruin your teeth:

1. Not brushing or flossing

If you think it’s OK to skip a twice-daily tooth brushing or if you rarely (or never) floss your teeth, you’re at risk for serious damage, including cavities, infections, and tooth loss. Every time you eat, a sticky, bacteria-rich film called plaque coats your teeth. Plaque also attracts bacteria from the food particles in your mouth.

The bacteria, in turn, produce acid that can create holes in your teeth called cavities. Then the bacteria enter the teeth and infect them, causing cavities and infections that can spread to the roots or even throughout your body.

A simple, easy habit to develop is brushing your teeth at least twice a day after meals. If you can’t brush at lunch, then at least rinse thoroughly. 

Brushing removes plaque, prevents it from hardening into crusty brown tartar that erodes your teeth, and protects your teeth from cavities. Flossing at least once a day removes plaque from between your teeth and from under the gum line, where it might cause gum disease and periodontitis. 

2. Grinding your teeth

If you sometimes clench your jaw or grind your teeth, you’re also stressing and grinding down your molars and other teeth. Even if you’re 100% sure you don’t grind your teeth, you might be engaging in nighttime grinding, which is known as bruxism.

Your dentist can tell at a glance if you engage in bruxism: Your molars are flat and your front teeth might be uneven or ground down. Bruxism can lead to cracks that damage your teeth. Grinding down your molars makes them less efficient at chewing. We may custom-fit you for a nightguard, which you place on your teeth at night to protect them from bruxism.

3. Using your teeth as a tool

When you can’t open a package or a bottle, you might be tempted to use your teeth for leverage or cutting power. Using your teeth for anything other than chewing your food risks damage. You could chip your tooth severely, break it, or destroy your dental work. 

4. Chewing on non-food items

Chewing on your fingernails or fingers doesn’t just ruin your nails, it ruins your teeth. So does chewing nervously on the ends of pencils or pens. Even chomping down on ice can crack your teeth. If you chew from anxiety or nervousness, try to learn some deep breathing techniques, and relaxation methods. You’ll save your fingers, your writing tools, and — ultimately — your teeth.

5. Thumb sucking

Children who suck their thumbs risk throwing their teeth out of alignment. If your toddler or child sucks their thumb, Dr. Sykes works with you to help you break them of this potentially expensive habit. 

6. Constant snacking

Some fitness buffs believe that six or more small meals a day causes fewer blood sugar spikes and is better for overall health than three solid meals a day. Not only has that theory been mostly discredited, but constant snacking is also terrible for your teeth. Each time you eat, your teeth are covered with plaque and bacteria. Snacks are even worse if they’re high in sugar or acid, and yes, that includes fruit and fruit juices!

7. Smoking

Smoking cigarettes or other tobacco products dehydrate your cells, including the cells in your teeth. You may notice that smokers tend to have drier, more wrinkled skin than nonsmokers their age. Smoking also stains your teeth an unpleasant shade of brown.

8. Drinking coffee, tea, or wine

Unfortunately, the health benefits of moderate coffee, tea, and red wine drinking come with a heavy toll. All of these beverages — as well as any highly colored beverage or food — stains your teeth. Rinse after drinking or eating brown, purple, blue, or red fruit or beverages. Brush with whitening toothpaste, and see us for regular teeth whitening treatments. 

Break your bad habits and get the smile of your dreams today by booking a dental exam and cleaning. Call us at 323-255-8774 during office hours, or book an appointment online

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