Common habits that damage your teeth

We all know that bad habits are, unfortunately, easy to accumulate.  But did you know that certain common habits, which you might think harmless, can actually have a bad impact on your teeth?

As a Preventative Dentist we want to stop this from happening.  To help, here are seven of the worst common ways to damage your teeth and your mouth:

Chewing on ice

A lot of people chew on ice cubes to relieve stress, quench thirst, or even just provide a fun distraction.  Even though this frozen water is sugarless and natural, it can still pose a threat to teeth.  Chomping down on this hard substance can create tiny fissures in tooth enamel.  Gradually these small cracks can widen and cause big dental issues later in life.

Not only can ice damage teeth in this way, but it has also been known to destroy expensive dental work such as fillings, braces and crowns.  If chewing ice hurts the soft tissue inside your tooth, you may even become more susceptible to regular toothaches.  Choose some sugarless gum over ice cubes.

Grinding teeth

Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, can slowly shave down your teeth.  Most people aren’t aware that they engage in this habit, because they do it whilst asleep.  If you have a sore jaw when you wake up or a constant headache, it could be an indicator that you suffer from bruxism.

More often than not teeth grinding is brought about by stress and poor sleeping habits.  Chronic bruxism can lead to teeth loosening and fracturing.  You may want to consider wearing a mouth guard at night to prevent damage from this unfortunate habit.

Eating gummy sweets

These high-fructose corn syrup clumps stick to your teeth and remain there long after you’re finished eating them.  The sugars and acids wear away at dental enamel – that’s why they’re infamous for causing cavities.

Don’t snack on these sweets throughout the day, but eat them at the end of a single meal, when your mouth produces more saliva to help wash down the gelatin.  Steer particularly clear of sour candy, since their acidity levels approach those of battery acid!

Biting pencils

Chewing on pens and pencils is one of the most common habits in the world.  It might have been something you adopted in childhood as you first struggled with a difficult exam.  But similarly to crunching on ice, pencil biting can crack or chip teeth.

If you find yourself reverting to this old habit, grab a stick of sugar-free gum to occupy your mouth.  This healthy alternative will also boost saliva production and strengthen teeth.

Playing contact sports without a mouth guard

Whatever high-collision sport you may be into – whether it’s hockey, rugby, or American football – make sure you wear a mouth guard.  This moulded plastic will protect your upper row of teeth during impact.  If you get hit in the mouth it will absorb the blow and save your teeth from chips or even from getting knocked out.

Mouth guards are inexpensive and can be found at most sporting goods shops.  Most are fully customisable to fit your bite.

Opening things with your teeth

Trying to crack open a bottle or package with your teeth is unnecessary and damaging.  This is a sure fire way to chip your teeth and irritate gums.  Keep bottle openers and scissors handy so you can avoid using your teeth as tools.

Drinking fizzy drinks

Soft drinks are one of the biggest causes of tooth decay in the western world.  The acids in these sugary beverages soften tooth enamel and lead to dental cavities.  More than four in five school-aged children consume at least one fizzy drink per day, but adults indulge in this bad habit too.

To cut back on your soft drink consumption, substitute the fizzy stuff for milk or water.  Stock your fridge with healthier options, and rinse your mouth out with water afterwards when you do drink soda.

If you’re worried about your teeth or think you may have damaged them, the best thing to do is visit the dentist. Call us here at Dental Care Partnership on 0121 354 1922 to book an appointment with one of our friendly team.