You probably brush your teeth twice a day. You might even floss. But it turns out that those aren’t the only two activities you should pursue to keep your teeth healthy and strong.
In fact, you’re probably also engaging in at least one of the following terrible dental habits that will destroy your teeth.
1. Using the Wrong Toothbrush
Millions of people are currently using the wrong toothbrush, and they don’t know it. Some use a brush with bristles that are too hard, which hurts their gums and increases sensitivity. Others use the same brush for months on end, which can let harmful bacteria grow on the bristles until it becomes a dangerous tool to place inside your mouth.
To make sure you’re using the right toothbrush, weigh the benefits of each. Conventional toothbrushes will work better for some, while electric tools are better for others. In addition, you should always choose the softest bristle and replace toothbrushes at least every three months — sooner if you notice damaged bristles, which can diminish effectiveness with every brushing.
2. Chewing Ice
Coldness and hard substances both make terrible playmates for your pearly whites. Chewing on ice can cause teeth to fracture and crack. This might not happen the first time you crunch down on frozen liquid, but if you make a habit of this, the wear and tear can build up until it’s too late.
To avoid the negative effects of this behavior, leave the ice in the glass after you finish a drink. Suck on popsicles and other frozen treats until they melt instead of chewing them.
3. Drinking Diet Soda
The word “diet” in relation to soda drinks is extremely misleading. Diet only means there’s a tiny bit less sugar … and usually a lot more acid. The carbonation of soda makes it extremely acidic, and the average 35 grams of sugar in each will steadily rot your teeth.
This doesn’t mean you must avoid diet sodas entirely, but everyone should limit their intake substantially. If you’re drinking one or more cans a day, that’s too much, and your teeth are undoubtedly suffering. However hard it might be to kick the habit, your oral and physical health will improve significantly.
4. Teeth Grinding
Some people grind their teeth without realizing it, often because it mostly happens in their sleep. Typically, it’s a sign of stress and anxiety, and it can seriously affect the longevity of your tooth enamel.
This leads to more serious issues down the road, such as repeated cases of tooth decay, root and nerve damage, gingivitis, and even chipped or cracked teeth. If you or someone close to you notices you have a habit of grinding your teeth, see your dentist as quickly as possible and get fitted with a professional mouth guard for sleeping. It will be a lot more comfortable than getting one over the counter, and you’ll protect yourself from unconscious teeth clenching and grinding.
5. Using Teeth as a Tool
Stop opening your bottled drinks or plastic packages with your teeth. This can lead to some serious long-term damage, including chipping, breaking, and cracking.
It can also force your teeth out of alignment over time, which could mean you’ll end up needing braces. Bottle openers, scissors, pocketknives, and other gadgets were invented for a reason. Let them open things for you and leave your teeth out of it.
6. Being Lazy About Brushing
Flossing, brushing, and rinsing are excellent tools for keeping your teeth in optimal shape, but there’s more to this than many people realize. Simply engaging in these habits every morning and night isn’t necessarily enough to protect your mouth.
You must brush and floss correctly, including scrubbing in the nooks and crannies, brush each tooth for a sufficient amount of time, and floss well between each tooth.
Set a timer for at least two minutes every time you brush. After you’ve brushed for two minutes, set the timer for another 30 seconds, and devote that time to brushing your back molars and other hard-to-reach places.
Finish off with a thorough flossing. This will ensure you’re brushing as well as you possibly can for optimum oral health.