Health and Lifestyle for the over 50s

Bad Dental Habits To Break

Posted by The Best of Health
Categories: Health and Wellbeing /


Brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing and making regular trips to see your dentist are important habits to maintain if you want to keep your teeth healthy. However, bad dental habits can significantly reduce the positive impact of your general good oral care. There are many behaviours that are best avoided if you want to minimise damage to your smile.

Bad Dental Habits

Opening Things With Your Teeth
Your teeth are designed to break down food, but are not so well-equipped to deal with opening bottle caps or plastic packaging. Using them this way can cause chips or cracks.

Snacking Constantly
Snacking produces less saliva than eating a full meal, which means that more bits of food linger on your teeth. Try not to snack too frequently to avoid extra build-up of bacteria and acid in the mouth.

Chewing Ice
Ice is natural and sugar-free, so it’s easy to consider chewing it harmless. However chewing ice cubes can chip your teeth and irritate the soft tissue inside them, causing toothache.

Chewing On Pens and Pencils
Like ice, pens and pencils are harder than anything your teeth are meant to deal with, and chewing on them can damage the teeth.

Grinding Teeth
Many people grind their teeth in their sleep or when they are stressed, which makes the habit difficult to control. However, it must be avoided because it can wear the teeth down over time. Wearing a mouth guide while you sleep is the best way to prevent you unknowingly damaging your teeth.

Drinking Fizzy Drinks
As well as being packed with particularly high levels of sugar, fizzy drinks also contain phosphoric and citric acids, which eat away at tooth enamel. These acids are still present in low-sugar diet options, so it’s best to avoid fizzy drinks altogether.

Drinking Too Much Fruit Juice
Unlike soft drinks, fruit juice has its health benefits, providing you with a useful dose of vitamins and antioxidants. However, some fruit juices can contain just as much sugar as less healthy alternatives, making it necessary to limit your intake.

Drinking Too Much Coffee
Coffee’s dark colour and acidity mean that regular drinking can discolour the teeth over time. While coffee stains are relatively easy to combat with whitening methods, it’s best not to drink too much to avoid yellowing teeth to begin with.

As well as increasing your risk of several types of cancer and other diseases, smoking tobacco can stain teeth and increase your risk of gum disease. Maintaining a healthy set of teeth is one of the many reasons to stay away from cigarettes.

Eating Lozenges
Because lozenges are used for medicinal purposes, it’s easy to overlook the fact that they are loaded with sugar. While they may soothe a sore throat, they coat your teeth in sugar, increasing your chances of cavities in the process. If you do need to use lozenges, you should be aware of the extra sugar intake and brush your teeth well accordingly.

Playing Sports With No Mouth Guard
Mouth guards should be worn when playing any contact sport. The rough activity involved can easily lead to teeth being chipped, cracked or even knocked out. A mouth guard will help you to avoid an extra trip to the dentist.

Whatever your oral habits, it’s best to be mindful of what you’re putting in your mouth and how it can affect your teeth. Good oral hygiene is second nature to many, but be careful not to undermine your good habits with a few too many bad dental habits.

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