In many of our blog posts, the Gaithersburg dentists at Clopper’s Mill Dental Care have discussed good habits for your teeth. But if there’s one thing we know as dentists, it’s that there are five bad habits for every good one.

In this blog, we’ll discuss a few (of many) bad habits for your teeth. Avoid these bad habits and throw in a few good habits, and you’re well on your way to great oral health!

Chewing On Ice

There’s something tempting about chewing on ice—after all, it’s just water, right? However, chewing on ice can increase the likelihood of cracking and chipping your teeth, and can irritate the soft tissue of your teeth. This can lead to sharp, throbbing pains in the mouth and lingering toothaches—both of which can grow more intense the more you chew. When it comes to your incessant need to chew, stay away from the hard stuff—stick to good old, sugar-free chewing gum.

Contact Sports (With No Mouth Guard)

We’ve all seen those beat-up hockey players with missing teeth. Don’t be like those guys—get yourself a mouth guard before you get into the game. Sports-related collisions in just about any sport can chip, crack, or knock out your teeth, so buy a self-fitting mouth guard at the drugstore, or have your dentist make a custom one for you.

Getting A Tongue Piercing

Tongue piercings might be hip and edgy, but they’re also potentially dangerous for your teeth and your health. Those who bite down on their tongue piercing can crack or break their teeth, and the constant rubbing of a tongue stud against the teeth can wear down the enamel of the teeth and create sore, tender gums.

To add to the potential damage, tongue piercings often cause bacterial infections and sores, and an improperly placed piercing can severe large blood vessels in the tongue, leading to severe bleeding. Is it really worth it to compromise your oral health over a fashion accessory? As dentists, we think not.

Grinding Your Teeth

Some of the worst habits for your teeth are completely out of control—take teeth grinding, for example. Also known as bruxism, teeth grinding during sleep can wear down enamel and cause severe tooth and jaw pain—all due to stress or brain activity during sleep. Avoiding hard foods and using a mouthguard during sleep can reduce the effects of bruxism, but it might be worth considering taking care of bruxism at the source: your stress, anger, and anxiety.

Eating Hard Candy or Cough Drops

Hard candy and cough drops aren’t meant to be broken apart with your teeth—but you just can’t resist, can you? Similar to chewing a block of ice, chomping on some hard candy can chip or crack your teeth—plus, you get all that extra sugar sticking to your tooth enamel, reacting with acids, and—you guessed it—causing cavities. We’re not just talking about hard candy here. Cough drops, despite being labeled as “healthy” and “medicinal,” are loaded with sugar just like your beloved Jolly Ranchers. Be sure to brush thoroughly after having a cough drop, and for heaven’s sake—don’t bite down on it. It’s not a tootsie pop—there’s no chocolate in the middle.

Opening Things With Your Teeth

Everybody knows a tough guy who likes to crack open a bottle of Bud Light Lime with his premolars. Your dentist knows that guy, too—and they cringe when they see the damage he’s done to his teeth. Your teeth are for eating, not opening things. There are 8,679,493 ways to open a bottle of beer without your teeth or a bottle opener, so save your teeth for chewing food items and learn some new methods to MacGyver your way into a cold one.

Drinking Soda

Didn’t your mom teach you anything? Soda is chock-full of sugar, and it’s highly acidic—a deadly duo that can shred through tooth enamel and cause cavities. Let’s not forget that soda isn’t good for any other part of your body, either. A soda every now and then isn’t a bad thing—but if you’re the kind of person who rips through a liter of Dr. Pepper every single day, you’re on the fast track to some not-so-sweet health issues.

Smoking

We won’t even get into the stains that smoking cigarettes can create on your teeth—if you keep smoking, you won’t have any teeth at all. Smoking is one of the easiest ways to get severe gum disease, which causes teeth to fall out and compromises the integrity of the jawbone and tongue. Did we mention that smoking causes mouth, lip, and tongue cancer? The best way to quit smoking is to never buy a pack in the first place—your smile will thank you for it.

Learn More About Bad Teeth Habits

If you think your habits might be damaging your teeth, pay a visit to your Gaithersburg dentist at Clopper’s Mill Dental Care. We’re happy to educate you on the good, the bad, and the ugly habits that can affect your teeth, while providing you with world-class dental care and exceptional customer service. Schedule an appointment today!