I’m sure you practice good dental care, but you are probably engaging in one or more bad habits that can still undermine the good habits.  Here are 5 bad dental habits, why they’re harmful, and what you can do to stop them.

• Turning Your Teeth into Tools. The Habit: Your teeth were made for eating, not to be used as scissors, nor to open things.  When you do this, you run the risk of cracking a tooth or multiple teeth. The Solution: Stop and find something or someone to give you a hand.  Your teeth and mouth will thank you.

• Constant Snacking. The Habit: Eating all day on sugary foods and drinks put you at higher risk for cavities.  When you snack, the cavity causing bacteria have a field day from the leftover food, producing an acid that attack your teeth. The Solution: Eat balance meals.  If you need a snack, be sure you follow it with a big glass of water to wash away the leftover food in your mouth.

• Chewing Ice. The Habit: Ice is a crystal and so is your tooth enamel.  When you put these two crystals together forcefully, one is going to chip or break.  Most of the time it will be the ice but sometimes a filling or a portion of your tooth will break. The Solution: Drink chilled beverages without ice and use a straw.  The risk of chewing ice is greater that the short term pleasure that comes from chewing it.

• Nail Biting. The Habit: This nervous habit can chip and wear down the edges of your front teeth. The Solution: Find out what the culprit of the stress is and remove it by setting small realistic goals can help.

• Lay off the Lemons/Limes. The Habit: Lemons are very acidic and when you suck on them, you may be putting your teeth in jeopardy by making the enamel erode and causing sensitivity. The Solution: Don’t suck on lemons to avoid damaging your teeth.

I know it’s hard to break a habit, but if you can mend your ways, you will help your overall dental health. I hope this Tooth Talk has helped.  If you have questions email or call my office at Integrity Dental Care, PLLC, dr.jmitchell@integritydentalcares.com, (615) 445-8700.