8 Habits That Lead to Bad Teeth

bad teeth

We all want healthy, white teeth. But many of us suffer from cavities, oral diseases, and other damage.

In fact, the World Health Organization reports that nearly 100 percent of adults suffer from cavities. It also states that 15-20% suffer from gum disease

There’s a reason that so many adults suffer from bad teeth.

Many of our daily habits, like what we eat or how we care for our teeth, cause many of the most common dental problems. Some of these habits are unconscious. However, others are known for being bad for our teeth, and yet are repeated regularly.

If you’re looking to improve the look and feel of your teeth, check out this list of 8 common habits that you should avoid.

1. Nail Biting

You may be surprised to know that something as soft as your fingernails could actually be causing your bad teeth.

Biting your nails can transfer any bacteria on your hands into your mouth. First of all, this could make you ill. It could also chip your teeth, and cause damage to your jaw from the constant pressure.

Unfortunately, breaking the habit of biting your nails can be a challenge.

Nail biting is often linked to stress.

To combat the desire to bite, try occupying your hand with other habits. Think of things like like squeezing a stress ball, knitting, or even using one of the popular new fidget toys that are popping up all over the web.

2. Grinding Your Teeth

Do you wake up each morning with a sore jaw or tender teeth?

The same habit that is causing you pain could also be causing you to develop bad teeth.

Teeth grinding is a harmful habit that can cause jaw problems, cracked, or chipped teeth. Plus, it can also lead to unnecessary wear on your enamel. Since it is often an unconscious habit, it can be tough to break.

Instead, it’s best to take efforts to protect your teeth from the damage that grinding causes. A night mouth guard is a good choice.

There is some evidence that other stress reducing exercises, like listening to music or stretching before bed, can also help to reduce grinding.

3. Chewing Ice

Drinking lots of water may be a healthy habit, but chewing ice certainly is not.

Chewing ice can cause damage to your enamel. It can also damage or even knock loose any fillings that you have.

To avoid the temptation to chew ice, opt to enjoy drinks without ice. When possible, always use a straw and lid.

4. Too Many Sugary Snacks

It’s no secret that too much sugar causes bad teeth.

While you don’t necessarily have to give up sugar for good, reducing the amount of sugar you take in can help prevent bad teeth.

It can also be helpful to change how you consume sugar. For instance, drinking a lot of soda or sucking on sugary candies is worse for your teeth than eating cake or enjoying a smoothie.

If you are going to enjoy soda, candy, or other sugary snacks, take measures to reduce the impact on your teeth. Do this by using a straw and brushing your teeth properly afterwards.

Otherwise, you could be wearing away the enamel on your teeth. This causes yellowing and sensitivity, and leaves your teeth susceptible to even more damage.

5. Picking at Your Teeth With the Wrong Tools

When you get food particles stuck in your teeth, it can be tempting to use any tools you have on hand to get rid of it as quickly as possible.

But doing so can actually cause damage to your teeth.

Instead, wait to pick until you can get to proper dental floss.

You could also be causing damage to your teeth when you use them to open packages or to pull or tear things apart. Your teeth may be useful tools, but they are only meant for tearing apart food.

6. Not Brushing Properly

Even if you’re brushing your teeth daily, it may not be enough to prevent bad teeth.

Not brushing long enough, brushing in the wrong direction or with too much pressure, and using an old, worn out tooth brush can all lead to bad teeth.

You should be brushing your teeth in small circles, holding your brush at a 45 degree angle to your teeth. You should also be brushing for a full two minutes at a time. This way, you’ll make sure that you’re cleaning your teeth properly.

7. Sucking on Lemons

Sweet, sour fruits might be tasty, but they can also cause damage to your teeth.

The acid in lemons and other citrus fruits can cause your enamel to erode over time. Sucking on slices of them puts that acid directly on your teeth accelerates that damage.

It can also cause painful gum sensitivity.

8. Playing Sports Without a Mouth guard

Many of the bad habits that cause bad teeth occur when the habit is repeated for several months, years, or even decades.

But other risks to your pearly whites can occur in an instant.

Making a habit of not wearing a mouth guard when playing sports like baseball or softball, hockey, lacrosse, or football can lead to major damage to your teeth.

In an instant, you could have a tooth (or teeth!) knocked out, chipped, or otherwise damaged. While a mouth guard may not protect you from every situation, it can go a long ways towards helping keep your teeth intact.

Don’t Panic: It May Not Be Too Late to Fix Your Bad Teeth

If you’re guilty of any of these habits or other harmful ones, you may already be experiencing yellowed, chipped, worn, or painful teeth and gums.

But it may not be too late to reverse some of the damage.

Our cosmetic and family practice offers a full range of dental services, including cleanings, teeth whitening, restoration, and more.

If you’re ready to start reversing the effects of your bad habits, contact us today to learn more.

In the meantime, it’s a good idea to start working on reversing these bad habits to prevent causing any more damage to your teeth.