Healthy Teeth 101 - Bad Habits

You practice good dental care. You brush your teeth twice daily, floss regularly, and see your dentist twice a year for check-ups and cleanings.

So far, so good!

But you’re also probably engaging in one or more bad habits that can undermine the good ones and compromise your dental health.

Man Behind The Mirror exposes the everyday habits that could be threatening your perfect smile… 

  1. Using your teeth as scissors or a bottle opener

Opening plastic coke bottle caps or plastic crisp packaging or even glass beer bottles with your teeth may be convenient but this is one habit that makes dentists cringe. Using your teeth may seem like the easy option, but if something goes wrong, and it does more often you than you think, it can cause them to chip or fracture. Stick to using your teeth for what they are designed to do - eat!

  1. Nail Biting

Nail-biting is a nervous habit that can chip teeth and impact your jaw. Biting nails can potentially cause your enamel to become splintered. In addition, placing your jaw for long periods of time in a protruding position can place pressure on it, which is associated with jaw dysfunction. If you feel an onset of nail-biting then hold something to keep your fingers busy!

  1. Brushing Too Hard

Brushing for two minutes, twice a day, is one of the best habits you can get into. Just make sure you’re not trying too hard. Brushing aggressively with a hard toothbrush can damage teeth and irritate gums. For most men, a soft-bristled toothbrush will be the most comfortable and safest choice alongside a gentler, massage-style brushing approach.

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  1. Frequent snacking

Continual grazing, especially on sugary foods and drinks, puts you at a higher risk of tooth decay. When you eat, bacteria feast on leftover food, producing an acid that attacks enamel. Most dentists advise to stick to three meals daily or if you need a snack, to make sure it's low in fat and sugar. If you do indulge in a sugary treat, follow it with a glass of water to wash away leftover food. Eating hard foods, such as apples and carrots, is also useful at clearing bacteria from the surface of the teeth.

  1. Consuming too much acidic foods

Dental hygiene 101 is not to overconsume sugary or acidic food or drink. Whenever you eat or drink anything sugary, the bacteria inside your mouth works to break it down. However, they produce acid in the process. Acid destroys tooth enamel, which over time results in tooth decay. Aim to lower your sugar intake and, again, drink a glass of water after eating and drinking.

  1. Tooth Grinding (Bruxism)

This is a habit that most people don’t realise they do. Although teeth grinding can be caused by stress and anxiety, it often occurs during sleep and is more likely caused by an abnormal bite or missing or crooked teeth. Symptoms include worn-down teeth which can lead to increased sensitivity. Wearing a mouth guard can prevent the damage caused by grinding while sleeping.

  1. Chewing Ice

Tooth enamel is a crystal. Ice is a crystal. When you push two crystals against each other, one will break. Most of the time it’s the ice, but sometimes the tooth or a filling will break. The risk of chewing ice is greater than any pleasure that comes from chewing it. Try to drink chilled beverages without ice or use a straw so you're not tempted to chew it.

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Hopefully this has been helpful. As always, if you have any follow-up questions don't hesitate to contact us at help@manbehindthemirror.co.uk