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10 Activities That Harm Your Teeth

Sometimes, dental problems stem from traumatic injuries or poor oral hygiene. Other times, you might think you’re doing everything right, but little, everyday habits may weaken or damage your smile. Make a note of these activities that harm your teeth so you can take steps to avoid them.

  1. Eating sticky food: Do you love dried fruit, taffy, and gummy candies? Unfortunately, the sugar in these treats isn’t the only problem with them. If you have crowns, fillings, or other restorative dental work, these sticky foods should be strictly off-limits.
  2. Chewing on ice or hard candy: Chomping down on hard objects is just as bad as sinking your teeth into sticky foods. If you must eat hard candy or suck on ice, let them dissolve rather than biting into them.
  3. Drinking acidic beverages: Acid is a tooth’s worst enemy. Coffee, soda, sports drinks, and wine can demineralize and etch enamel, the hard outer coating of your teeth. When this happens, the risk of cavities and staining increases.
  4. Grinding your teeth at night: Untreated bruxism, or nighttime tooth-grinding and clenching, can lead to cracked, loose, or misaligned teeth. Wearing a mouth guard while you sleep is the best treatment option.
  5. Smoking: Any product containing tobacco is bad for your teeth and gums, causing everything from stained teeth to bad breath. If you smoke, quit now to avoid an array of oral health problems.
  6. Biting your nails: Fingernails may be softer than tooth enamel, but biting your nails can lead to chipped teeth and sore jaw muscles. Try wearing bitter-tasting nail polish to help you break this habit.
  7. Sucking your thumb: If toddlers suck their thumbs after their teeth start coming in, it could affect their bite. So discourage thumb sucking as soon as you notice your child’s first tooth to avoid oral health problems in the future.
  8. Brushing too vigorously: The harder your brush, the cleaner your teeth will get, right? Actually, brushing too hard can wear down enamel and irritate your gums. The key is to find the middle ground between brushing too hard and not brushing hard enough.
  9. Snacking incessantly: Your saliva works hard to clean out your mouth after each meal. If you snack all the time, you give bacteria a constant food supply, increasing your risk of cavities, gum disease, and bad breath.
  10. Using your teeth as tools: Never resort to tearing tape, opening bottles, or holding items with your teeth. Don’t chew on non-food objects, either. These habits could crack your teeth or cause restoration work to fall out.

If you have more questions about maintaining good oral health, don’t hesitate to ask! Dr. Spalitto and the rest of the team at West County Dental would be happy to guide you toward a flawless, beautiful smile. We have over a decade of experience providing state-of-the-art dental care to patients in St. Louis. Call us at (314) 488-2921 or contact us online to reserve an appointment today.