5 Bad Oral Hygiene Habits That Can Damage Your Teeth

Most of us learn at an early age to care for our teeth through daily brushing and annual visits to the dentist for a check-up and cleaning. But over time we can become lax with our routine and start to pick up bad habits. Unfortunately, a failure to practice proper oral hygiene can damage your teeth, permanently in some cases, potentially leading to tooth loss. Here are just a few bad habits you’ll want to avoid if your goal is to keep the teeth you have for many years to come.

  1. Tobacco use. Smoking, chewing, and using tobacco in general is a no-no for your health, but you might not realize the massive damage you’re doing to your teeth in the process. You might expect yellowing or staining to occur when you use tobacco, but this is actually the least of your problems. Smoking, in particular, can cause your mouth to dry out, and when you don’t have adequate saliva to rinse your mouth, bacteria can build up and lead to issues like cavities, gingivitis, and all kinds of other serious problems. And of course, there is also the possibility of mouth cancer. No matter how you look at it, it’s not a very pretty picture.
  2. Poor diet. If you’re eating a lot of foods that feature sugar, acid, and dyes you are not only harming your body, most likely, but you’re also damaging your teeth in the process. Sugar feeds bacteria and promotes the growth of cavities while acids wear away enamel, breaking down your best natural protection. And dyes, as you might expect, stain your pearly whites. If you’re not happy with the appearance of your smile or you’re suffering serious dental health issues, perhaps it’s time to consider cutting back on soda and overhauling your diet in general.
  3. Chewing non-food items. Whether you bite your nails, you absentmindedly chew on pens and pencils, or your chomp on your hair, you should know that your oral fixation could be causing problems for your oral health. You can not only chip your enamel when you chomp, chew, and grind your teeth on items that your mouth isn’t designed to render digestible, but you can create undue stress that leads to cracks, looseness, and other dental issues, especially if the habit persists. So think about chewing acceptable food substitutes like gum when you get that itch to move your mouth. And stop snipping price tags and opening bags with your teeth, as well. That’s what we have tools like scissors and knives for!
  4. Improper oral hygiene regimen. Brushing, flossing, and rinsing with mouthwash are your frontline defenses when it comes to maintaining oral health. But if you’re skipping portions of this daily regimen or you happen to be performing certain tasks incorrectly, you could start to notice problems with your teeth and gums. So ask your dentist for a demonstration and then take the time to brush, floss, and rinse at least daily (although multiple times a day is better).
  5. Skipping dental visits. You might think that you can manage your oral health on your own, and this is mostly true. But scheduling visits at your local comfort dental lounge every six months to a year is essential for maintaining the health of your mouth. Professional cleanings get all the gunk you can’t reach on your own and x-rays are necessary to ensure early detection of cavities and other issues, likely saving your teeth in the process.