Dental health – Things NOT to do with your teeth

Dental health – Things NOT to do with your teeth

We all have bad habits that we know we should break, but we never (or hardly) manage to do so. However, if we are familiar with the end results of what our behavior will cause, that might be the necessary push that we need to break our bad habits. Especially of those habits can jeopardize our dental health.

Some bad and harmful habits should be broken as soon as possible, so you could remain healthy. This especially applies to your dental health.

Many of us have certain unhealthy and unsafe habits regarding out teeth that could lead to serious problems. So we need to break them in order to avoid decay, damage and irritation.

But what are the most common bad habits people do that jeopardize their dental health?

Dental health tip – Don’t use your teeth as tools

When we don’t find certain tools nearby, we often use our teeth to do the job. It’s a matter of convenience, nothing else. So when you want to open something right now, like maybe a pack of chips, you will use your molars (or front teeth) as a go-to tool, instead of maybe using a pair of scissors.

Okay, this is probably not a very serious example, because bags of chips can be pretty easy to open and don’t present a big threat to your dental health. However, people sometimes want to open a bottle of soda with their teeth, and plastic is a bit tougher. So please, refrain from doing this.

Actions such as this, can quickly result in a cracked or chipped tooth, and that can be painful. Not to mention that you will need to see a dentist in order to have it repaired.

So instead of using your teeth and a multi-purpose tool, save yourself the pain and time and look for the proper tool for the job. We all have scissors, nutcrackers and bottle openers in our home, so use those.

Avoid chewing on hard objects

You remember how nice it is when you chew on ice or when you chew your pen when you’re distracted and daydreaming? Well doing things like that constantly, put pressure on your teeth over and over and they might just crack one day.

Yes, tooth enamel is a pretty tough substance but it’s not indestructible. It has a threshold and with heavy and constant abuse, it will crack. Once it cracks, the soft tissue inside your teeth could get irritated (maybe by the heavy cold from the ice you were chewing) and that’s not pleasant.

So instead of chewing ices, hard candy or something else, satisfy your ‘chewing’ urge by some sugarless gum or maybe a crunchy apple.

Too much sugar is bad for your dental health

IT’s a well-established fact that sugar can cause tooth decay. And despite all the warnings from dentists, people just can’t get enough of it.

We’re not advocating that you should quit sugar altogether. Instead, try to bring your sugar intake to a more moderate level. The problem is not really the sugar, but the bacteria that live in your mouth that feeds on sugar. While feeding on sugar, they also ‘eat away’ the surface of your teeth and that’s how you get cavities.

As we mentioned, it’s literally impossible to avoid all forms of sugar. However, you can refrain from certain forms of sugar or just cut back a little. We recommend avoiding sodas, juices, sports drinks as they contain both sugar and acids that stay on your teeth. Other things like stick candies and snacks, are also bad since they sit in the grooves of your teeth for quite a while.

So, try and replace your sugary foods and beverages with other alternatives that are sugar-free or low-sugar. Instead of using soda to quench your thirst, try water. It’s an excellent way of staying hydrated and it is sugar-free.

And if you really must eat or drink something sweet, make sure you clean your teeth after, but wait at least 30 minutes.

Brushing your teeth incorrectly

You all know that brushing your teeth regularly is vital for good dental health and oral hygiene. Not only does brushing prevent tooth decay, but it also prevents gum disease.

However, not many people know how to properly brush their teeth. The pressure that you’re applying while brushing shouldn’t be too great. Brushing your teeth harder can irritate your gums, they can bleed and you’re applying unnecessary pressure to your teeth. The toothbrush bristles will get the plaque on your teeth even if you apply gentle pressure, something like massaging your gums and teeth.

Now, the brushing technique is one thing, but you also need to make sure that you have the right type of toothbrush. Bristles shouldn’t be too soft or too firm. Too soft toothbrushes won’t be able to properly ‘scrub off’ the plaque from your teeth, and a firm toothbrush will ‘scrub off’ layers of your enamel too.

Overdoing it and brushing your teeth too often is also not advisable. Yes, you should brush after every meal, but not right after. You may not know, but after every meal, you mouth becomes acidic and it is your saliva’s job to neutralize the excess acid. So wait at least 30 minutes after a meal before you brush your teeth.

And last but not least, make sure that you develop a healthy habit of flossing, at least once a day. There’s only so much plaque and food residue your toothbrush can reach and clean. Dental floss can reach even between the teeth, where bits of food might get stuck.

Tobacco products cause major dental health problems

You probably saw how yellowish the teeth are to someone who smokes or chews tobacco. Smoking or chewing tobacco not only stains your teeth and turns them yellow, but it can also cause bad breath, tooth sensitivity and gum disease.

Tobacco products can also cause increase plaque on your teeth which can lead to inflamed salivary glands, receding gums and even tooth loss. And of course not to mention the other negative effects on your health e.g. cancer.

So if you care about your dental health and want to quit smoking or chewing tobacco, schedule an appointment with your doctor, find a good support group and devise a good plan to kick that bad habit. It’s not going to be easy, but with a little support and effort, it can be done.

Taking good care of your dental health is really important. Not just so you could have a beautiful and white smile, but also to be in overall good health. As you know, a problematic tooth can impact the health of your entire body.

And to those of you who are taking your dental health seriously, contact us today to schedule a regular checkup or cleaning. We’re here to help you take good care of your teeth.


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Dr. Nguyen
Dr. Nguyen

Dr. Nguyen is committed to providing high-quality dentistry using state-of-the-art equipment to help you achieve improved oral health and the beautiful smile you deserve.

Dr. Nguyen has served on the Virginia Board of Dentistry and has many achievements such as: Invisalign Premier and Teen Provider, Pre-Fellow with Academy of General Dentistry, Graduate of Aesthetic Continuum, Engel Institute for Dental Implant Training, WaveOne Endodontic Training, HD President’s Club.

Dr. Nguyen enjoys spending time with his wife and three daughters, staying active in the gym, and trying out new restaurants.  When he isn’t at work, you can find him playing basketball, tennis, football, or hiking.

“I want to make you feel right at home, exceed your expectations, and provide an amazing experience!”