Disciplined brushing and flossing is not the only factor that keeps your smile healthy. You may be a five star brusher, but if you engage in one of these five daily habits, your smile is in jeopardy. We all know the dangers in neglecting to brush your teeth or chomping on hard candy all day, but here are some other habits that can damage your smile – some may surprise you.
#1 Smoking: The oral health consequences of a smoking habit are multi-faceted. Not only will chronic smoking cause you to have bad breath, it also discolors your teeth and leaves you much more susceptible to gum disease.
#2 Nail Biting: According to the Academy of General Dentistry, people who bite their nails pay an average of $4,000 in additional dental bills over their lifetime! Breaking this habit means you save yourself from potential jaw problems and worn down teeth.
#3 Ice Chomping: Similar to nail biting, chomping or crunching on ice cubes will eventually wear down your tooth enamel, or it could also result in a chipped tooth. Furthermore, ice chomping can dislodge or break a dental filling or damage other valuable dental work in your mouth.
#4 Cough Drops: It’s that time of year and sore throats are common. Before you rely on cough drops or throat lozenges to soothe your pain all day, consider its harmful effects in your mouth. Unfortunately, most cough drops contain a lot of sugar. Sucking on multiple cough drops throughout the day means you are allowing sticky sugar to sit on your teeth, which is an open invitation to tooth decay. You can still get the medicinal relief you need if you choose sugar-free cough drops instead. Avoid them all together if you are prone to chomp down on them too soon, as this can result in a chipped tooth.
#5 Brushing Too Soon: Yes, there is actually a wrong (or worse) time to brush. Brushing too soon can be harmful if you have just consumed acidic food or drinks. It is recommended that you allow at least an hour for your own saliva to neutralize harmful acids on your teeth before you brush. This prevents a tooth brushing session that is just too abrasive for your teeth.
If you are guilty of one of these habits that adversely affect your dental health, consider taking steps to break those habits. While you may think your daily habit is insignificant or harmless, it can dramatically affect your smile over time, resulting in costly dental work or serious gum disease.