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Health and Fitness News

Protect Your Pearly Whites

Habits that harm your teeth.

You’ve only got one set of teeth and ideally they’ll last your whole life. Thankfully, they can! With proper care and regular dental cleanings, your teeth can last for 100 or more years. But taking care of your teeth involves more than just brushing and flossing. It also means avoiding things that can damage them.

Many people unknowingly damage their teeth everyday with the following habits. Are you one of them?

Brushing Too Hard

You may brush your teeth religiously twice a day, but if you’re brushing too hard or using a firm toothbrush, you may be doing damage to your teeth or gums. Brushing too hard can wear down the enamel, which can lead to tooth sensitivity. Vigorous brushing can also cause receding gums, which can contribute to cavities, periodontal disease, root canals, or even tooth loss. Want to keep your teeth healthy? Remember that you don’t need to press hard to remove plaque. A gentle massage with a soft-bristled toothbrush will get the job done.

Chewing On Ice

Some people crave ice to chew on, but it’s a dangerous habit for your teeth. Both enamel and ice are hard crystal. Crush the two together, and one’s bound to break. While it’s usually ice, sometimes the ice can break a filling, crack a weak tooth, or wear down the tooth’s enamel. Chewing on other hard objects like pens or pencils is also risky to your teeth.

Biting Nails

It’s a nervous habit that may be done without thinking, but nail biting can do damage to your teeth and jaw, not to mention increase your risk of a bacterial or viral infection. Biting your nails can lead to chipped, broken, or cracked teeth. A crack may slowly lead to stains, decay, and fracture.

Grinding and Clenching

You may grind or clench your teeth unconsciously during the day when you’re stressed, or at night in your sleep. Symptoms of grinding and clenching include facial pain, earache, headaches, or jaw stiffness. Over time, grinding or clenching can lead to tooth sensitivity, broken teeth, lost fillings, or tooth loss. Relaxation techniques and a mouthguard worn at night can help.

Constant Snacking

Known as grazing, snacking on and off throughout the day increases your chances of developing cavities. The risk is greater if you snack on sticky or sugary foods or drinks. Snacking on candy, gummies, cookies, soda, juice, sweet cereals, and anything sugary are especially harmful to your teeth. You’ve heard it before, but hear it again: sugar is bad for your teeth! When exposed to sugar, bacteria in your mouth produce acid, which damages your enamel and leads to tooth decay.

Using Teeth as Tools

You need to cut a tag off a new shirt, open a bag, or remove a bottle cap but don’t have the right tool, so what do you do? You use your teeth instead. Your teeth were designed to bite and chew food, not to be used as scissors or a bottle opener. Using them for a different purpose than what they were made for puts them at risk for damage.

Smoking or Chewing Tobacco

Tobacco use of any kind, whether cigarettes, chewing tobacco, or pipes, stains your teeth and puts you at risk for gum disease. Smoking also weakens your immune system, which makes you more likely to get a gum infection. In fact, smokers have double the risk of developing gum disease. Severe cases of gum disease can cause your teeth to fall out.