We often talk about what you can do to help boost your dental health: “Brush more,” “floss after eating,” and “use a mouthwash with fluoride.” But sometimes understanding what bad habits patients should stop can have an equally beneficial effect on their oral health. If you want to improve your oral health and your family’s dental wellbeing, here are some habits you should consider quitting right now:

1. Drinking Soda

Sodas are one of the worst food products for your long-term dental health. Drinking a soda blankets your teeth in liquid sugar. This sugar coats your teeth and creates a surface for bacteria to cling to.

Soda is also highly acidic and will change the pH of your mouth for up to twenty minutes after your last sip and wear away your enamel. Both of these effects quicken tooth decay.

2. Eating Sticky Sweets

Candy is oh-so-sweet, but oh-so-unkind when it comes to your dental health. Not only does candy give bacteria a feast to feed on, but this bacteria produces acid which breaks down enamel.

Giving up sticky and chewy candies should be your priority if you’re quitting candy but struggle with a sweet-tooth. All candy is harmful, of course. But chewy sweets stick more often between your teeth and can be more difficult to wash or brush away.

3. Using Your Teeth as a Tool

One often-overlooked bad dental habit is to open packaging with your teeth or using your teeth as nail clippers. Both of these have the potential of severely damaging your teeth. With just a quick slip, you can crack a tooth, chip a tooth, or break a tooth.

Nail chewing can also increase your risk for bruxism (or teeth grinding), a condition where you grind or clench your teeth unintentionally. This condition can lead to headaches, tooth sensitivity, and muscular pain in the jaw.

4. Using Tobacco Products

Smoking, dipping, and vaping can profounding affect your oral health. All of these habits can be considered deadly dental sins. Not only does tobacco use harm your teeth, but it can lead to oral cancer and other severe dental issues with your tongue, gums, and throat.

5. Chewing on Non-Food Items

Calling all pen chewers and ice munchers! It’s time to quit. Chewing on these items is an unhealthy habit that can cost you thousands of dollars and cost you your smile. Not only does chewing non-food items wear down your teeth, but it also makes you vulnerable to tooth damage like breakage and chips.

6. Grinding Your Teeth and Clenching

Grinding or clenching your teeth (AKA: bruxism) can do a number on your teeth and overall health. If you clench out of habit, you may find that your teeth are getting quickly worn down. You may also discover that your teeth will crack and you may experience frequent headaches.

For those patients who have bridges, implants, and crowns, you can permanently damage your smile by grinding. You can knock out your crowns, break your crown or bridge, or wear your teeth down to the point where your dental appliance no longer fits.

7. Playing Sports without a Mouth Guard

When it comes to contact sports, you’re better safe than sorry. No, you don’t need to quit the rugby team or break your kid’s heart by saying they need to give up soccer. You do need to break the habit of playing without a custom mouthguard, though. A well-fitted mouthguard can prevent tooth loss and breakage that can occur upon impact.

Break Those Bad Habits with Our Help

If you need a little more encouragement, come and see us. Our team can motivate you and provide you with guidance to help you begin your journey to a beautiful, healthy smile. We can talk to you about how we can help to restore your smile and create a custom mouthguard to prevent grinding or protect your teeth during sports activities. If you have questions about your dental health, we have answers. Make an appointment to see us now.

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