6 Habits You Don’t Know Are Harming Your Teeth

biting nailsIt is well-known that not brushing and flossing regularly is harmful to teeth, but what about the daily habits that contribute to—or are a detriment to—overall dental and oral health? Here are 6 common, everyday habits that hold high potential for harming your teeth. And if you happen to find that one or more of these habits apply to you, make a resolution to nix those habits as soon as possible.

Snacking Between Meals

It isn’t the snacking itself that is staining your teeth, but rather the tendency of snacked-on foods to linger in the mouth for an extended period of time since they are often not washed down by liquids or other foods. Snacking on sugary foods like candy, soft drinks, or even fruit between meals in particular means that you could be leaving high amounts of sugar to linger in the mouth, giving the sugar ample opportunity to breed with bacteria and produce acids that cause tooth decay. To help combat this phenomenon, it’s always a good idea to have plenty of water on hand to flush away sugars and acids, or to save snack foods for meal times instead.

Drinking Coffee or Red Wine

Both of these are a daily indulgence for many, and both are primary causes for teeth staining. Coffee-stained teeth can become sticky, attracting even more food particles and bacteria in the mouth. Meanwhile, red wine is acidic and thus works immediately to break down tooth enamel when in the mouth. Both drinks dry out the mouth and give bacteria additional room to grow. A good idea when drinking either of these is to have plenty of water on hand. And in the case of wine, try to enjoy it with other foods, and follow up with sugarless gum.

Chewing on Ice

This is a mindless habit for some that could be doing permanent damage without their even knowing it. Chewing on ice can cause teeth to crack, even gradually over a long period of time.

Using Your Teeth As Tools

Using your teeth to help open soda bottles or to tear loose threads from clothing can be extremely damaging to teeth, carrying serious potential for chipping, cracking, or even breaking teeth.

Chewing on Non-Food Items

Similarly, that seemingly harmless habit of biting your nails, pens, pencils, or bobby pins can also seriously harm your teeth, sometimes resulting in cracked or broken teeth. Moreover, you could cause your teeth to shift out of place.

Grinding Teeth

If this is a habit that plagues you at night, it’s a good idea to ask your dentist about what options are available to you for helping nix the habit. Grinding your teeth wears at your teeth and can even possibly crack them, not to mention it can harm your jaw as well.