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It’s no secret that we use our teeth and jaw hundreds of times a day for eating, speaking, or even laughing. Think about the ways in which you use your teeth on any given day. It’s clear that we ask a lot of our teeth, so it’s important that we preserve our teeth as much as we can. A healthy set of teeth means you’ll enjoy a healthier life and have more confidence.

To keep your teeth healthy and bright, you need to avoid these dental habits below. You’ll find that many of these habits are voluntary while one is involuntary. Read through this information. If you know of someone who does one of these bad dental habits, forward them the link to this article.

1. Chewing on ice or hard objects.

Your teeth are the hardest things in your body. They can withstand a huge amount of pressure before breaking or fracturing. But the purpose of your teeth is to bite THROUGH things, not ON things. Crunchy on ice or hard objects can cause your teeth to chip, crack, or even fracture. We treat patients all the time who have crunched on ice for years, and they were surprised when the ice bit back. Think about the true function of your teeth the next time you go to crunch on ice of want to chew on your pen.

2. Grinding or clenching your teeth.

This habit is typically involuntary. People who have alignment issues or issues with their jawbone have a tendency to grind or clench their teeth at night. Most patients aren’t even aware they are doing this, but they often experience jaw muscle soreness, clicking of the jaw, popping of the jaw, or even chronic headaches. Grinding and clenching can also destroy the teeth. By grinding your teeth, you can shave millimeters off of your teeth within just a few months. That may not seem like much, but consider how that accumulates over time. People who clench their teeth also risk chipping or fracturing their teeth. Our office can craft an oral appliance that takes the pressure off our teeth during these involuntary habits.

3. Using an old, frayed toothbrush.

Your toothbrush is a tool. Like any tool, it’s impossible for it to work effectively if it’s old or damaged. An old toothbrush can accumulate bacteria and become less effective, and it’s also possible for the bristles to break down over time. The American Dental Association recommends that you change out your toothbrush about once every three to four months. At our office, you’ll receive a free toothbrush after every regular cleaning or exam.

4. Skip brushing or flossing.

We recommend that you brush your teeth twice a day and floss every day. I’m guessing you’ve heard this time and time again. The reason for this is that plaque, a substance that attaches to the tooth and can create harmful acids that causes cavities, can develop in the mouth after just 8 hours! If you skip even one brushing a day, you’re putting your mouth at a greater risk of cavities. Remind yourself by setting up a timer on your phone. When you brush, hit every quadrant of the mouth and try not to brush too hard.

5. Snacking too often or sipping on soda.

Cavities are developed from harmful acids. You can reduce your acid exposure by brushing and flossing, but you can also control cavities by what you are putting in your mouth. Snacking throughout the day or sipping on soda will increase the plague levels in your mouth. Healthy snacks like apples or cheese actually work to reduce plaque levels in the mouth. If you must snack throughout the day, look into snacks that are healthy for your teeth.

These are just five habits that are putting your teeth at risk. If you’re ready to join our dental family, call our office today at 503-388-4691.