8 Habits That Wreak Havoc on Your Oral Health

You expect to ace your oral health exam, but instead, your oral surgeon is concerned about weakened teeth, worn-down enamel, discolorations or the health of your gums.

What gives? You brush and floss twice a day, you don’t smoke and you never miss a routine checkup and cleaning.

oral health habits

If you have sound oral health care habits but still have dental problems, your everyday habits may be to blame.

No. 1: Snacking on Sugary or Starchy Foods

Sugar and starch are archenemies of your oral health.

The bacteria in your mouth feed on them, creating acids that eat away tooth enamel. For better oral health, enjoy sweets and starchy treats like potato chips or crackers as part of a meal rather than as snacks.

No. 2: Making the Wrong Beverage Choices

Regular soda, fruit juice and energy drinks are extremely high in sugar and acid.

Even sugar-free options bathe your teeth in enamel-destroying acid. Coffee and wine are also highly acidic — and these popular beverages can also stain the teeth. Water is the healthiest option for your oral and overall health. If you go with another drink choice, using a straw can help limit acid exposure to your teeth.

No. 3: Chewing Ice

Ice is just harmless frozen water, right? Wrong.

Munching on ice cubes can irritate your gums, leading to a toothache. And chewing a hard substance like ice could chip or crack a tooth. Instead of gnawing on ice, try a piece of sugarless gum.

No. 4: Biting Your Cheeks or Lips

Habitual cheek or lip biting can create chronic irritation. The presence of mouth sores can result in a serious oral infection.

Sugar-free gum is a safer alternative for habitual cheek and lip biters.

No. 5: Using Your Teeth as Tools

How many times have you used your teeth to rip open a package, twist the cap off a bottle or bite a fingernail? Doing so can weaken or even break your teeth.

You get one set of permanent teeth — never risk using them as tools. Protect your mouth by taking the time to grab a real tool instead.

No. 6: Grinding Your Teeth

Teeth grinding, or bruxism, can create problems in the temporomandibular joints (TMJ), resulting in jaw pain. This habit can also wear down the enamel and lead to fractured or broken teeth.

To lessen the negative oral health effects of bruxism, wear a nighttime appliance to prevent grinding.

No. 7: Playing Sports Without a Mouthguard

Contact sports can be physically rough, and falls or collisions with other players can chip or knock out a tooth. The front teeth are particularly vulnerable to damage.

Keep your teeth safe by wearing a mouthguard, preferably one that is custom-fitted by an oral health professional.

No. 8: Bleaching Your Teeth Too Often

Repeated whitening procedures can cause your teeth to become extra sensitive to temperature. In addition, bleaching too often can result in patchy tooth discolorations and deterioration of the enamel.

For appropriate whitening technique and frequency, consult your oral health care professional.

The experienced team at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah is committed to keeping your mouth healthy and your teeth strong. Call one of our three convenient Salt Lake City area offices today to schedule your oral health exam.