It is said that the best time to quit a bad habit is immediately, especially when those habits put your good dental health at risk. Fortunately, the best thing about these harmful dental habits is that the cures are readily attainable with just a little attention and determination.

  • Hard brushing – Using a hard toothbrush or scrubbing too hard can damage your teeth and cause gum recession. Switch to a soft toothbrush and gently brush for two minutes in the morning and before bed. We recommend using your thumb, index finger and middle finger to the hold the brush, rather than a fist-holding technique to lighten the pressure.
  • Chewing ice cubes, pencils, eyeglass ends etc. – Chewing on these kinds of items can carry the risk of a chipped tooth, in addition to exposure to the germs that may be on non-food items. Try drinking through a straw to avoid the temptation. Chewing xylitol contained sugar free gum may keep you from chewing on non-food items.
  • Using teeth as tools – Cracked or chipped teeth aren’t worth the risk. Take the time to find scissors to open packages, and don’t use your teeth to hold items when your hands are full.
  • Use of tobacco products – Whether smoking or chewing, can cause bad breath, bleeding gums, and yellow, discolored teeth, in addition to their many other health risks. Your doctor can advise you on the many methods to help you quit.
  • Nail biting – Nail biting can cause jaw problems, chipped teeth and expose you to bacteria from under the nails. Bitter tasting polishes may be helpful.
  • Clenching or grinding teeth – Muscle or joint pain, interrupted sleep and worn teeth can be the results. Try addressing the stressful areas in your life, use relaxation techniques, and consider a mouth guard for sleeping.
  • Consuming acidic or sugary food and drinks – Eating acidic or sugary items, especially when they’re left to sit on teeth, can damage the enamel, leading to tooth sensitivity and putting you at risk for cavities. However, rinsing your mouth with water after eating can help, but don’t brush for at least a half hour after eating acidic foods as doing so can cause further damage.

By changing any of these habits, you can have a positive effect on your oral health. The important thing is to recognize their risks and work toward changing them.

If would like more information about forming healthy dental habits, Dr. Heidi Finkelstein and her caring staff at My Plantation Dentist can help. To schedule your appointment, please contact us today at 954-584-1030.

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