Are some of your bad habits becoming a problem for your teeth? Here are the top ones to kick in 2018.
Using teeth as tools
Have a habit of opening everyone’s bottle with your teeth? We hardly need to state the dangers of risking a chipped tooth or a crack. The same goes if you use your teeth to cut through clothes’ tags. Get a bottle opener or scissors – it’s surely a better solution than restorative dental work!
If you’re lucky enough not to have sensitive teeth already, you might find you do soon if you insist on crunching through leftover ice cubes at the bottom of your drink. The rapid temperature change can cause tiny cracks to appear in your teeth and may even lead to chipping. Ouch!
A great resolution this new year would be to cut back on snacks, especially those high in starchy carbs or sugar. Clear out the snack drawer by December 31st and stick to well-balanced and filling 3 meals a day, sipping water in between. If you must snack, a piece of fruit, plain unsweetened yoghurt or some cheese is ideal. Your teeth won’t just thank you, so will your blood sugar levels and your bathroom scales!
Swallowing swimming pool water
A great resolution is to do more exercise, such as taking up swimming. But try to minimise how much water you swallow. Swimming pool water is chlorinated to make it safe to swim in, but this can cause enamel erosion if your teeth come into regular contact with it.
Using a firm toothbrush
Using a hard-bristled toothbrush is not the way to get cleaner teeth, but it is the way to wear down your enamel! Switching to a soft toothbrush is the easiest new year’s resolution you could make, and with 364 days of the year left, you might as well resolve to commit to regular flossing and rinsing too!
Flossing with the wrong equipment
While we’re on the topic, a poll commissioned in the US found that 14% of people use safety pins to floss and 7% use strands of hair. That’s alongside other culprits such as folded paper and fingernails. Using anything other than a dentist-recommended and hygienic product puts you at risk of causing more harm than good through damaging the gum tissue or inviting infection. Even a toothpick can damage your gums. The solution? Just carry floss with you or wait till you get home!
There’s no end to the kind of problems stress can bring to our teeth – teeth grinding and jaw clenching just some of them – so why not resolve to make a fresh start to 2018? Before NYE, make a list of all your commitments and see where you can trim the fat. Also, incorporate some mindfulness techniques each day and keep a journal to pour your worries into.
You might be surprised to hear that biting your nails is bad for your teeth, but it can cause them to wear down. Not only that, it also introduces bacteria to your mouth which could result in an infection. Besides, your nails will look a lot nicer if you manage to cut the habit. If it’s caused by stress, use the tips above or add a varnish that makes it off-putting.
Chewing pens and pencils
Biting down on items of stationery is another bad dental habit many of us don’t even realise we do. But it can increase the risk of chips to your teeth and risks exposing your mouth to bacteria it wouldn’t usually encounter, which may even lead to infection. And do we really need to state that you don’t always know who else has been doing the same?
Smoking is one of the hardest habits to kick, but it’s one of the best for your mouth. If you utilise the support available, and the help of family and friends, you’ll lower your chances of getting mouth cancer by a third and have fresher breath, whiter teeth and healthier gums.