Have you ever looked in the mirror and recoiled in horror at what you have seen? From chipped teeth to the telltale signs of tooth decay, it’s little wonder you resolve to close your mouth and never open it again in fear of what other people might think. Of course, your dentist will give you plenty of advice to rectify the problem, and they will tell you the same things we are going to tell you in this article. Cut out your bad habits!
The following are just some of the habits you need to stop making on a daily basis.
Habit #1: Drinking from the wrong bottle
You know what we mean already, but a little reminder is always useful. Soft drinks loaded with sugar, including (but not exclusively) those of the fizzy variety, are going to erode the enamel on your teeth, thanks to the high levels of acidity. Wine is another tooth killer for the very same reason, so when you’re relaxing of an evening, you might prefer to opt for something non-acidic, or at the very least something that is sugar-free.
Habit #2: Nibbling on the sweet stuff
We can already imagine your eyes rolling as you read this. You know eating sweets is bad for you, and while we can hear you tutting in annoyance at having been told again, we can also hear the rustle of your sweet bag. If you do insist on eating sweets, despite knowing the dangers (admittedly, the temptation is very strong), at least make sure you give your teeth a thorough brushing afterwards. Considering sweets can also get lodged between your teeth, give your teeth a proper floss for good measure. Sweets aren’t the only food stuff that is bad for your molars, of course, so check out our handy list on what you should and shouldn’t be nibbling on!
Habit #3: Chewing on a pencil
Chewing on a pencil is a nervous habit, and you may have caught yourself doing it while you’re busy at work. Not only are you ruining the end of your pencil (and putting yourself at risk of lead poisoning), but you are also damaging your teeth. The more you chew, the more stress you are causing to your teeth, which could result in a possible fracture. If you do need to chew on something, opt for a chewing stick, which many cultures have used as an actual substitute to a toothbrush. Alternatively, use a stress ball or munch on a healthy snack, to keep your nerves at bay.
Habit #4: Grinding your teeth
Admittedly, you are probably doing this unconsciously while you sleep, so this is one habit you may have difficulty quitting. Still, you do need to put something in place, such as a mouth guard, to protect your teeth from becoming misaligned. You should also speak to your dentist for further advice on kicking this night time habit. Which leads us onto our next point!
Habit #5: Avoiding the dentist
When was the last time you visited your dentist? If your answer lies somewhere beyond this last decade, you need to get yourself there, and pronto. It doesn’t matter how well cared for your teeth are, your dentist can pick up on other diseases, such as diabetes and cancer. Still, your reason for not going to the dentist probably isn’t because “I don’t need to.” It’s probably because a) “I can’t afford it” or b) “I’m absolutely terrified. Both are common issues, but you can alleviate both. For starters, consider Full Coverage Dental Insurance to limit the damage in your pockets. And if you’re terrified? You could take a friend along with you for moral support, though it is worth noting that a trip to the dentist isn’t as painful as it used to be. Still, anything is better than toothache, right?
Habit #6: Relying on an older toothbrush
Dental professionals recommend we change our toothbrush every three months or so. The bristles eventually get worn, so they will lose their effectiveness when cleaning your teeth. When buying a new toothbrush, you should also opt for a soft brush. A hard bristled brush will destroy your tooth enamel, so pay attention to the packaging when you are picking up a new one.
Habit #7: Brushing after every meal
It turns out we have been listening to the wrong advice from our parents all these years. According to dentists, our teeth are at their weakest after eating a meal, particularly those foods that contain a high degree of acid. Instead of brushing immediately, we should wait around 30 minutes to let our saliva harden and remineralise the tooth enamel again. You should still brush your teeth around the hour mark, of course, as some of those foods will erode your enamel and cause decay. And (in our best dentist voice)… “Don’t forget to floss!”
Habit #8: Smoking or vaping
It’s no surprise to you or anybody within passing distance of you to suggest that smoking is bad. Not only does it cause a buildup of tartar on your teeth, but it discolours them too, and it also gives you very bad breath. For those who have had difficulty kicking the habit, vaping has become a ‘healthier alternative.’ However, studies suggest vaping isn’t good for your oral health either, as this article will tell you. Your better bet is to either see your doctor for prescribed methods, such as inhalers, oral strips, and mouth spray, or chew on good old-fashioned (sugar-free) chewing gum instead.
And finally… the good habits
So, we have outlined the bad habits you need to avoid, but what about good habits? The following are the basic principles you need to abide by.
– Brush two or three times a day.
– Floss on a daily basis.
– Eat or drink sugar-free alternatives to unhealthy items.
– Drink plenty of water.
– Make your dentist your friend and not your enemy!
Common sense we know, but how many of them do you follow? By focussing on these good habits instead of the damaging alternatives, you will be doing your oral health a favour. Never again will your mirror look back at you with a reflection that causes you both fear and revulsion.