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Are You Damaging Your Teeth With These 7 Habits?

chewing iceAre you damaging your teeth without knowing it? Some of us do it unintentionally every day, whether out of habit, nervousness, or ignorance. While some of these habits can cause immediate damage to your pearly whites, many of them will add up over time and will wreak very costly damage to your teeth.

Do you find yourself doing any of the following 7 habits?

Brushing Too Hard – You might think that brushing with fervor will wipe out more bacteria and plaque, but it actually causes more harm than good. Brushing with too much force can wear down your enamel (which cannot be replaced once gone!), irritate your gums, and even make your teeth sensitive to cold. Simply use a soft bristled toothbrush and learn to brush more gently and in a circular motion over your teeth and gums. An ADA-approved toothbrush with soft bristles will be firm enough to remove the plaque but also soft enough to not cause damage.

Chewing on Ice – The next time you get ice with that water, think twice about chewing it too hard or too frequently. Munching on hard, frozen cubes of ice can chip or crack your teeth. If you’re a fan of chewing on ice, try chewing sugarless gum instead.

Grinding Your Teeth – If you find yourself grinding your teeth, it can wear them down over time. Teeth grinding – or bruxism – is often caused by stress and sleeping habits, and it can be pretty tough to control, especially at night when you’re asleep. You can help address this by wearing a mouth guard at night.

Cough Drops and Candy – Cough drops are handy when it comes to soothing your throat and controlling your coughs, and candy can be a tasty dessert to indulge in every once in a while; however, these items can cause great damage to your teeth. When the sugar come into contact with your teeth, it reacts with the sticky plaque that coats your teeth, and bacteria in the plaque will convert the sugar into an acid that eats away tooth enamel. After you have a few lozenges or eat a sugary treat, be sure to brush your teeth well.

Soda and Sugary Drinks – Sodas, juices, and sports drinks are loaded with sugar. In fact, many sodas can have up to 11 teaspoons of sugar per serving and can also contain phosphoric and citric acids, agents that eat away our tooth enamel. Do your best to avoid sugary drinks like these and drink water and milk instead. If you have to have a soda or sports drink, be sure to brush shortly after you drink them.

Opening Things With Your Teeth – You might not think much of opening a tough package with your teeth, but this is one bad habit that just makes us cringe! Using your teeth as tools can cause them to crack or chip. Make sure that you keep a pair of scissors and a handy bottle opener nearby so you can only use your teeth what they were designed to do – eat.

Smoking – If you need one more reason to make you want to kick the habit for good, think about your smile. Cigarettes and other tobacco products can stain your teeth and can even cause them to fall out due to gum disease. In addition, smoking can cause cancer of the mouth, lips, and tongue. Take steps today to kick this terrible habit out of your life – your teeth and body will thank you!

Not visiting your dentist at least once every year can also be not so great for your teeth. Request an appointment with Foley Dental Group by calling (618) 288-9670 or at and take care of your pearly whites today!