You may recognize that skimping on your brushing and flossing and avoiding your dentist are likely to harm your teeth, but you may have some other more surreptitious habits that are detrimental to your oral health. Here are five potentially problematic patterns:
Frequent lozenge use: Someone who restricts candy to benefit their teeth may not recognize that using cough drops or throat lozenges could expose them to sugar in a similar fashion. The lozenge is designed to dissolve slowly, which leaves much opportunity for the sugar to linger where oral bacteria can easily feed on it.
Overzealous brushing: While you certainly want to be sure to brush twice a day for two minutes each time, it is possible to overdo this aspect of your oral hygiene routine. Evidence suggests that brushing any more than two minutes at a time offers no additional benefits to your smile. Your technique matters as well. If you are brushing too hard, you can damage your enamel and gum tissue. Your dentist may pick up on signs of this habit and alert you to the problem.
Overindulging in citrus fruits (and tomatoes): Citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruits are healthy, right? They are chock full of vitamins and fiber. But they can present a stealthy weapon against your teeth because of their high acid content. That acid can prematurely wear down your enamel, so if you eat a lot of citrus or tomatoes, you may want to cut back some.
Chewing non-food objects: Your teeth are designed to process food, not fingernails or pencils or ice cubes. When you chew on hard non-food objects, you run the risk of breaking a tooth.
Smoking (and other tobacco use): This one may not necessarily be “surprising” but it still warrants mentioning in a list of habits that can harm your oral health. Not only does smoking stain your teeth, leaving them a dingy shade of yellow, but this particularly unhealthy habit increases inflammation throughout your body, including in your gum tissue. Therefore, smokers are more susceptible to gum disease. As for chewing tobacco, often falsely touted as a “safer” alternative to cigarettes, this habit dramatically increases your risk for oral cancer. It’s best for your smile—and the rest of your body—to just steer clear of tobacco products.
Are you concerned that a seemingly harmless habit could actually be putting your oral health at risk? Check in with one of our experienced professionals and contact our office today to see if you’re doing everything possible to maintain a healthy smile.