- Habit 1 – Beverages to Limit or Avoid
Sodas contain upwards of 11tsp of sugar per serving (close to four tablespoons!). Sodas also contain phosphoric and citric acids which damage your enamel. Even though diet sodas don’t contain the sugar content that regular sodas have, they aren’t much better. Diet sodas actually contain more enamel-damaging acids in the form of artificial sweeteners.
Juice contains around the same amount of sugar as soda. Also watch out for added sugar! If you’re going to have an occasional juice or soda, be sure to wash it down with a glass of water.
Bottles at bedtime to get infants to sleep can wreak havoc on their new teeth because it sits in their mouth all night. It’s best to remove the bottle from their bedtime routine.
Other beverages to avoid or limit include sports drinks (full of sugar), coffee (acidic and stain-inducing), and wines (both red and white – acidic and stain-inducing). On the occasions you do enjoy these beverages, be sure to wash them down with a glass of water.
- Habit 2 – Chronic Snacking
Snacking on crunchy, starchy, sugary, or acidic snacks all throughout the day means that your teeth are exposed to the elements that break down your tooth enamel, all day long. Larger meals produce more saliva to break down foods and is better for your teeth than the frequent snacks.
- Habit 3 – Cigarettes and Tobacco Products
Tobacco product usage over time can lead to stained teeth, bad breath, and diseases like cancers. If you need help quitting, consult your doctor.
- Habit 4 – High Contact Sports
Playing high contact sports like football can damage your smile if you’re not taking the proper precautions. Don’t take chances. Always use safety equipment and a mouth guard when participating in high contact sports.
- Habit 5 – Using Your Teeth as Tools
This is probably cited by dentists as the worst offender of habits that can damage your teeth. Using your teeth to tear open a package or hold onto something can chip, crack or damage your teeth. Keep tools like scissors handy instead.
- Habit 6 – Nervous Habits
Chewing ice, biting nails, and gnawing on writing utensils is bad for your teeth. Oftentimes this is done subconsciously so efforts must be made to break these kinds of habits to protect your teeth. If you need to chew on something, try sugarless gum.
- Habit 7 – Cough Drops and Candies
Cough drops may be medicinal, but they are also full of sugar and affect your teeth and gums the same way candy does. Always wash cough drops and candies down with water when you’re done.
- Habit 8 – Bruxism (Grinding and Clenching Teeth)
Approximately 8% of Americans grind or clench their teeth at night, but it can happen during the daytime too. Try to implement stress-reducing routines into your life and wear a mouthguard at night.
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