Congratulations, you practice generally good dental care by brushing your teeth and flossing at least once a day. You deserve a round of applause. However, is that enough? The chances are that you may be indulging in one or more harmful dental habits, which can undermine your good intentions by compromising your oral health. If you’re curious, continue reading to discover our top five worst-rated dental habits. Then, we will explain why these bad habits are dangerous and what you can do to quit with dignity and grace.
Dental Danger #1: Using Teeth as Tools
It’s common practice for people to overuse their teeth to do several odd jobs, such as ripping a tag off of a piece of clothing or opening adult chilled beverages. Unfortunately, this raises the risk of chipping, fracturing, or other tooth damage.
Repeat after me: “My teeth are not tools.” Now, repeat it and mean it. Before putting a foreign object in your mouth, consider keeping fundamental tools (such as a bottle opener) in arm reach to use the tools (instead of your chompers).
Dental Danger #2: Brushing Too Aggressively
Although the surface of your teeth (tooth enamel) is the hardest substance in the human body, it can only take so much. Indeed, brushing twice a day is crucial for removing disease-causing bacteria, keeping the breath fresh, and making teeth sparkle.
However, are you brushing way too hard? Forcefully scrubbing away at your teeth with a toothbrush can result in sensitivity because of this powerful pair of consequences:
- Enamel erosion
- Receding gumline
So, it’s best practice to brush every surface of the teeth gently for at least two minutes. Also, choose a soft-bristled toothbrush and replace it when it shows signs of wear (typically, every 3-4 months or after getting sick).
Dental Danger #3: Indulging in Heavy Drinking
Commonly, experts define binge drinking as:
- Five or more drinks on occasion for men
- Four or more drinks on occasion for women
According to the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Binge Drinking report, excessive alcohol consumption is a significant health issue in the United States, with over 90% of US adults who drink excessively reporting binge drinking.
Among bad habits, binge drinking is a multi-faceted one. Alcohol is a drying ingredient that can induce dry mouth and prevent saliva production. When this happens, harmful bacteria stick to the mouth and lead to bad breath and tooth decay. Additionally, alcohol is acidic, and therefore, it will erode tooth enamel and lead to tooth sensitivity.
Do you binge drink? Here are a few things that you can do to stop:
- Ask yourself why you binge drink and self-analyze your answer
- Create a clear plan, write it down, and stick to it.
- Change to a sober environment to avoid potential triggers.
Dental Danger #4: Not Going to the Dentist Regularly
When was the last time you went to the dentist for a check-up and cleaning? If the answer to that question is over six months, it’s time to schedule your next dental visit. Regular dental visits optimize dental health by cleaning and checking out the teeth and gums to prevent tooth decay and periodontal disease and maintain good dental health.
Frequently Asked Question: How do I practice good dental care?
Conversely, some dental care practices that can keep your smile in tip-top shape are:
- Brushing twice a day
- Flossing at least once a day
- Consuming a balanced diet
- Chewing sugarless gum after a meal
- Visiting the dentist for routine visits and dental emergencies