When it comes to protecting our teeth, we often think of avoiding things like crunching down too hard on a piece of candy or trying to open packages with our pearly whites. It often comes as a surprise to people just how many of our daily habits are bad for our teeth, according to Dr. Ken Collins, DDS, a popular family dentist in Spokane, Washington.
1. Chewing Your Nails or Eating Ice
Chewing ice sounds like a pretty obvious bad habit that damages teeth, while chewing nails might seem harmless. But this very common habit can actually damage the teeth over time n the same way that chewing ice can. It can also put strain on the jaw and lead to TMJ symptoms.
2. Drinking Diet Soda
Just because something is sugar free or diet doesn’t necessarily make it safe for teeth. Artificial sweeteners can be bad for your health, and soda can still stain teeth regardless of sugar content.
3. Brushing Too Hard
In an effort to make sure teeth are well cared for and healthy, some people brush very vigorously.
“Brushing too hard actually causes the gums to begin receding,” Collins said. “The gums are sensitive to damage, and brushing with a hard toothbrush or applying too much pressure can not only damage the enamel, but also hurt the gums.”
4. Covering a Wet Toothbrush
Many travelers carry with them a toothbrush cover with the intention of protecting the brush from bacteria and keeping it clean. However, bacteria thrive on moist environments, so if the brush isn’t completely dry when covered, you could be making it worse. Ditching the cover is really the best way to go.
5. DIY Straightening
Between mail-order aligners and viral videos on how to straighten teeth with hair ties, DIY dentistry seems to be a trending thing – and that’s scary, Collins said.
“Without the supervision of a dental professional there are so many things that could go wrong with these treatments,” he said. “Teens have literally lost their teeth from trying things they saw on the internet claiming to straighten teeth at home.”
6. Brushing Right After a Meal
It seems like a great idea to keep teeth clean and free of food particles and plaque, right? Unfortunately, enamel is weakened during the process of eating and drinking, and for the first 30 minutes after a meal it remains soft and easily damaged. Collins recommends waiting 30 minutes after meals or drinks to brush teeth but does encourage brushing as often as you want as long as you do so with a light hand and soft-bristled brush.
7. Using a Toothpick
As with vigorous brushing, gums are easily damaged, especially when it comes to a sharp but tiny wooden stake. If food is stuck in your teeth and you don’t have access to floss, use toothpicks as gently and sparingly as possible.
8. Avoiding Dental Appointments
There are very few people in this world who enjoy dental visits. But putting them off only leads to more pain and more expensive treatments in the future. It’s cheaper and less painful to see a dentist every six months as recommended by the American Dental Association instead of waiting until a problem has gotten out of hand.
It’s pretty common knowledge these days that smoking is bad for just about every part of your body. From delayed healing to cancer and gum disease, the list of ailments related to tobacco use is long. Stay away from cigarettes or any form of tobacco if you are trying to keep teeth healthy, strong and white.
10. Whitening Too Often
Have you heard of “bleachorexia”? It may sound silly, but it’s an actual disorder characterized by excessive bleaching of the teeth. Teeth whitening in moderation is perfectly safe for teeth, but when it’s done too often it can damage the enamel and cause teeth to become brittle and even yellow over time.
“When the enamel is worn away from excessive bleaching, the dentin begins to show through,” Collins said. “The dentin is naturally yellow in color, which means the exact opposite of the patient’s goal is achieved by too much teeth whitening.”
Or office in Spokane is located at:
3151 E. 28th Ave.
Spokane, WA 99223
Office phone # 509-368-7788