Concerned man covering his mouth with his hands

Are you causing serious damage to your smile every day
without even realizing it? Unfortunately, many of us have unconscious habits
that weaken our teeth, irritate our gums, and harm our oral health. The first step
towards putting a stop to these bad behaviors is to recognize them and
understand how they’re impacting your smile. Read on to see if any of your
daily behaviors appear on this list of harmful dental habits, and what your Scarborough
recommends to protect your smile.  

1. Grazing on Sugar Throughout the Day

Many people don’t realize that how often we snack is just as
important as how much is consumed. Continuously grazing on chips, cookies,
popcorn, soda, and juice provides a steady stream of fuel for the harmful bacteria
in your mouth, which increases your chances of cavities. Instead, keep that
bacteria in check by drinking more water and choosing healthier options like
cheese, carrots, and nuts.   

2. Brushing Your Teeth Incorrectly

If you brush your teeth with too much force or use the wrong
dental products, you could be doing more harm than good. Hard-bristled
toothbrushes, abrasive toothpastes, and over-aggressive brushing can hurt your
gum tissue and wear away your enamel. Make sure you’re gently cleaning your
teeth with soft-bristled toothbrushes and gentle toothpastes.

3. Using Your Teeth as Tools

When you’re particularly excited to open a gift, bag of
chips, or any other container, it may be tempting to rip it open with your
teeth. While it may save you a few seconds now, it could cost you time in the
dentist’s chair later if you chip or crack a tooth! To curb this bad habit, store
scissors, bottle openers, and other helpful tools somewhere you can reach them

4. Chewing on Hard Objects

Unconscious chewing habits can easily develop when we’re
anxious, frustrated, or bored. However, chewing on hard objects like ice, pen
caps, or fingernails quickly wears down your enamel and weakens your teeth. Additionally,
your soft tissues could potentially become injured and infected. If you really
need something to chew on, try a piece of sugarless gum or a crunchy apple.

5. Smoking or Chewing Tobacco Products

Smoking or chewing tobacco products will lead to stained
teeth, bad breath, and tooth sensitivity, all while drastically increasing your
risk of oral cancer. What’s more, tobacco use is also connected to plaque
buildup, worsening gum disease, and tooth loss. Tobacco usage is not an easy
habit to break, but it is well worth the effort. Your doctor can help you
create an actionable plan to quit and point you toward the resources and products
that can help your specific situation.

Don’t let a few unconscious behaviors ruin your teeth and
your oral health. You can keep your smile happy and healthy by being mindful of
your everyday activities and taking steps to break bad habits.

About the Author

At White Willow Family & Cosmetic Dentistry in Scarborough,
ON, we are dedicated to treating your dental issues as well as preventing them
from happening in the first place. That’s why Dr. Samantha Amaro is focused on
identifying issues as early as possible and creating personalized treatment plans
to keep them from becoming larger problems. If you need help overcoming bad dental
habits or fixing the damage they’ve caused your smile, don’t hesitate to
contact her via her website
or 1(416)285-4545.