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Top 5 Worst Dental Habits – do you have them?

Bad-Dental-HabitsSo, you practice good dental care – you brush your teeth, floss regularly and see your dentist twice a year for checkups.  Unfortunately you are probably also engaging in one or more bad oral health habits that can compromise your dental health. Here’s five of the worst dental habits, why they’re harmful, and what you can do to stop them.

1. Crunching, Sucking, and Sipping
You slurp down ice cold drinks and then crunch the left over ice – what’s the harm?  The cold temperatures of the ice cubes can cause teeth to fracture.  Crushed ice is better, but most dentists would still say it isn’t good for your teeth.  Crunching on popcorn kernels can also stress teeth and cause them to fracture.Another bad habit is sipping sugary soft drinks through out the day as the constant exposure to sugar and acid can foster tooth decay. It’s important to be mindful of these practices when you eat or drink. Switch to crushed ice in drinks and when eating snacks eat something that’s healthier to chew, such as baby carrots. Sip soft drinks through a straw to minimize soda exposure to your teeth. Be sure the straw is positioned toward the back of the mouth and not resting on your teeth.

2. Using teeth as tools

Dentists often see patients who rely on their teeth for a number of odd jobs – tearing open a bag of potato chips,  uncap a bottle of nail polish,  pull out a watch stem,  straighten a bent fork tine, or rip a price tag off a piece of clothing. This can be hard on your teeth, traumatizing them or causing the edge of a weakened tooth to chip off or even fracture.  Its best to think about what you are using your teeth for and use real tools such as scissors and pliers to do the dirty work.

3.  Grinding Your Teeth

Whether you grind your teeth during the day, at night, or both day and night, it wears them down. Although teeth grinding can be caused by a number of different reasons including stress and anxiety, it is more likely caused by an abnormal bite or by missing or crooked teeth.Your Local Redcliffe Dentists at John Street Dental may suggest wearing a mouth guard for teeth grinding at night. Custom models made by your dentist cost more than over-the-counter ones, but they generally fit better and work better, too. Sometimes, it helps simply to be aware that you are grinding your teeth and if it is caused by stress, consider an exercise program or counseling.You may also want to try cutting back on foods and drinks that contain, reduce or avoid alcohol consumption, don’t chew on pencils or anything else that isn’t food.

If you notice that you clench or grind your teeth during the day, position the tip of your tongue between your teeth to train your jaw muscles to relax.

To relax your jaw muscles at night holding a warm washcloth against your cheek, in front of the earlobe.

4. Using a Hard-Bristled Toothbrush

Its a common misconception that the firmer your toothbrush the better.  This is not so, especially in older adults as gums push back and the roots of teeth become exposed, increasing sensitivity.  A brush with too-firm bristles may irritate the gums and lead to sensitive teeth.

5. Nail Biting

This nervous habit can chip your teeth and impact your jaw. Placing your jaw for long periods of time in a protruding position can place pressure on it and this is associated with jaw dysfunction.

The good news is there are some Bitter-tasting nail polishes, stress reduction and setting small, realistic goals can help. If certain situations are triggers, hold something to keep your fingers busy.


Make an appointment with  the friendly Local Redcliffe Dentists at John Street Dental if you would like help overcoming any dental health bad habits.

Call today on 3284 4281 or Book Online