Even if you brush and floss your teeth every day and visit your dentist twice a year, you could still be engaging in some habits that can potentially harm your teeth. If you make yourself aware of these tendencies, you can protect your pearly whites. Here are five common habits that can hurt your teeth.
1. Chewing on ice
Have you ever finished a glass of soda and chewed on the leftover ice? It might seem like a harmless habit, but it is bad for your oral health in several ways. For one, chewing on ice puts a lot of pressure on your teeth, according to Oral Answers. The hardness of the ice can actually wear down the enamel of your teeth, making them susceptible to chips and cracks. Ice cubes are also very sharp and can cut your delicate gum tissue.
2. Grinding your teeth
Whether it is due to stress or a misaligned bite, tooth grinding can weaken the enamel of your teeth. If you can't quit the habit on your own, Oral-B suggests asking your dentist about getting a mouth guard. A custom-made mouth guard fits comfortably in your over your teeth and prevents you from clenching down on your teeth.
3. Brushing your teeth too aggressively
Brushing your teeth with a lot of force might seem like a good way to remove all that pesky bacteria. However, this habit can in fact wear down enamel and irritate your gums. Always use a soft-bristle toothbrush and move it in short, gentle strokes across your teeth.
4. Biting your nails
Nail biting is typically a nervous habit and can do a lot more than just harm the appearance of your hands. When you bite down on your nails, you cause your teeth to shift out of place. If this habit is difficult for you to break, try applying a bitter-tasting nail polish to your nails.
5. Cleaning teeth with toothpicks
If you have ever used a toothpick to remove a piece of food between your teeth, you are not alone. However, using toothpicks frequently can tear your gums and damage tooth enamel. When you have something stuck between your teeth, always use floss to get it out. When you go to restaurants, consider packing floss in your purse.
If you avoid these harmful habits, your teeth and gums will be in much better shape.