19 Feb

Are bad habits harming your teeth?

Most people know what they need to do to keep their teeth healthy and strong, but lists of what not to do are much less commonplace. Dentists often talk about cleaning the teeth with fluoride toothpaste, using an electric toothbrush and going for a check-up every six months, but what should you not be doing to keep your smile sparkling?

Many common ‘bad habits’ can have implications for oral health. One example is biting the nails. Some people bite their nails when they’re nervous or anxious, while others do it purely out of habit. Biting the nails is not only detrimental to the nails, but also to the teeth. You could easily chip or damage a tooth while chomping away. There’s also a risk of exposure to bacteria that can gather underneath the nails. 

Another potential problem for the teeth and gums is using the teeth as a makeshift Swiss army knife. Many people have resorted to using their pearly whites to try and open bottles or cut off labels in the absence of a bottle opener or a pair of scissors. While the teeth are extremely hard, and they can be effective in these roles, it’s dangerous to utilise the teeth for biting and chewing anything other than food. Biting down on bottle tops can cause significant damage to the teeth, chipping or splintering the enamel or even fracturing the tooth. 

One more habit to try and kick for healthier teeth is brushing too hard. It’s logical to assume that brushing vigorously is better for the teeth, but being too aggressive with a toothbrush can actually do more harm than good. Brushing with force can weaken the enamel, increasing the risk of sensitivity and cavities. Instead, it’s best to brush gently, letting the toothbrush do the hard work.