Something becomes a habit when we don’t have to think about it, but we do it nevertheless. This is why habits are crucial. They make us as a person. When it comes to maintaining good health, good practices and the proper diet will win over the bad.
Do your lifestyle and diet coincide with your health goals? Swap the unhealthy with the healthy ones. Here are some bad dental habits to toss out and what you can do instead:
Smoking and vaping are well-known culprits for damaging general health, particularly leading to illnesses such as cancer, stroke, diabetes, heart disease, respiratory problems, and many other chronic diseases.
Whether cigarettes or any tobacco products, the effect is always damage. Smoking and vaping affect dental health directly too. They stain the teeth, cause periodontal and gum diseases, decay a tooth or two, and possibly even lead to premature tooth loss.
With more harmful bacteria present and the decomposition of food, those who smoke or vape are at greater risk of having bad breath. Smoking can deteriorate your mouth’s healing abilities too, which is why the American Dental Association (ADA) warns smokers that they tend to heal much slower after having dental procedures.
The only way to prevent any of these health implications is by stopping to smoke or vape, which will significantly need motivation and commitment on your part.
Consuming Sugary Food and Drinks
America is one giant consumer of sweetened food and beverages. Sugar of every kind is one of the main ingredients for most recipes in the country.
With all these sugary food and drinks available everywhere, it’s no wonder that adults, not just youths, can easily fall into the trap of binge-eating and drinking sweets. In fact, you might not even know it, but you eat an awful amount of deserts every day.
Sugary products are a magnet for harmful bacteria. Consuming too much sugar makes these naturally residing bacteria in your mouth release acid and damage your enamel. Sticky candies and soft drinks are a few of those that can do heavy damage.
To curb your appetite for sugar, make sure that you eat solid breakfasts every day, preferably a diet rich in protein and fiber. If you get thirsty, train yourself to be a water drinker. You can’t trust flavored drinks since they can be very acidic.
Teeth Grinding or Bruxism
You might not be aware of it, but when under stress, your jaw tenses. For some, this leads to teeth grinding. Others are unconscious teeth grinders.
If you notice you’re grinding your teeth during the day when stressed or suspect that you also do the same at night, act on it immediately. Habits, whether conscious or unconscious, can do significant damage.
Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, can also wear the enamel down. It can be caused by missing or misaligned teeth, poor sleeping habits, or stress. Not only does it damage the enamel and overall teeth, but it can also worsen temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJD) or jaw pain.
Make sure to talk to a dentist to determine the best solution for you. Your dentist may recommend that you wear mouth guards at night. It also helps that you learn how to manage your stress properly.
Following an Unhealthy Diet
Aside from sugary food and beverages, you might be surprised at some items included in Healthline’s list of food items worst for the teeth—sour candies, bread, carbonated drinks, alcohol, ice, potato chips, dried fruits, and citrus.
Bread is surprisingly on the list. This is because your saliva breaks down the starch into sugar, then into something like a gummy paste that sticks in between your teeth.
On the other hand, Healthline recommends these teeth-strengthening food—cacao nibs, fatty fish, grapefruit and oranges, grass-fed dairy, and leafy greens, all of which can boost the strength of your teeth.
Cacao or chocolate, without added sugar, can significantly stave off bacteria and plaque on your teeth. Fatty fish, being rich in vitamin D, is one of the most critical parts of many kinds of diets, but it does a lesser-known benefit too—minimizing the risk of tooth decay.
Other Bad Dental Habits to Watch Out
Many other bad dental habits should go. Don’t use your teeth to open items, play sports with your mouth guard on, or chew on your fingernails or other items such as pens, pencils, or ice.
Stop brushing your teeth too hard as well. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and change it every after three months or when it flats down. Most importantly, alongside swapping bad habits with the good, be sure to visit your dentist regularly as well.