You may practice great oral care habits like brushing twice daily and diligently flossing, but if you also adopt bad dental habits, you could be undoing all that good work. Here are a few common ones and how to change them.
- Crunching Many people like to chew ice as they enjoy cold beverages. It’s just water, so what harm could it do, right? Actually, the brittleness and cold temperature of ice cubes could create microscopic cracks in the surface of the enamel, which could lead to fractures or bigger dental problems over time. Popcorn kernels can also cause damage to teeth. If you really want something to crunch on, choose healthy snacks like baby carrots.
- Grinding teeth If you grind your teeth at night, make sure you have a nightguard. Going without one could cause the teeth to get worn down. Mouthguards are available in drugstores, but a custom-made one from your dentist office will be more comfortable and effective. Teeth grinding could be caused by stress, so if you find that you’re clenching or grinding your teeth during the day, try to find the source of that stress and relieve it.
- Using a hard-bristled toothbrush Many people think that a firmer toothbrush means a more thorough clean, but it could actually harm the gums and damage teeth enamel, leading to tooth sensitivity. Soft-bristled toothbrushes are the most recommended.
- Not brushing, flossing, or rinsing properly Are you brushing properly? It should last for about two minutes, twice every day. Change out your toothbrush every three to four months. Flossing should also happen every day. If you’re not sure whether or not you’re flossing properly, ask your hygienist for a demonstration next time you have a cleaning. Antiseptic rinses help get rid of bacteria while fluoride rinses help prevent tooth decay. Whichever you choose, dentists recommend rinsing once or twice a day.