7 Bad Habits that Can Destroy Your Teeth
Enamel is by far the hardest substance in the human body. Composed almost entirely of minerals, enamel scores a 5 out of 10 on the Mohs hardness scale. That may not sound like a lot, but for comparison, gold and silver sit at between 2.5 and 3, while diamond is a 10.
This means that your teeth are pretty formidable, and that’s why they rarely scratch and why it takes a lot of force to chip them.
However, while enamel is very strong, it only accounts for a small portion of your teeth and this, combined with the relative weakness of your gums, makes it more vulnerable than it should be.
That’s why all the following things can cause serious damage to your teeth, even though they may seem pretty innocuous and weak when compared to that super-strong enamel.
Drinking Coffee and Sugary Soda
Drinking coffee, tea, and sugary soda will cause your teeth to become stained over time. This is something we have discussed many times, and it’s something that our Snow Teeth Whitening Kit can help with. It’s safe and easy to use and will give you sparkling white teeth without harming your enamel.
It’s not just stained, either. If you like your coffee or tea with lots of cream and sugar, you’re creating an environment in which bacteria thrive. The same goes for sugary sodas. Sugar triggers the release of harmful acids that gradually erode your enamel.
It’s not going to wear the enamel away to nothing, and it certainly won’t cause serious damage with just a few cups of coffee or a few cans of soda. But if you’re drinking these things every day and neglecting your dental hygiene, you’ll eventually get very sensitive teeth, which is the result of many minor cracks caused by enamel erosion.
While chewing ice seems like a harmless habit, it can actually do a lot of damage to your teeth, much more than a diet rich in sugar. Ice is hard, and while your teeth are harder, the enamel is also pretty thin and will wear down, chip, and crack if you regularly chew ice.
Grinding Your Teeth
You may grind your teeth when you’re anxious or angry, in which case you just need to make yourself aware and then try to avoid it. However, most cases of teeth grinding are the result of a condition known as bruxism.
If you have bruxism, you may be grinding your teeth at night without even realizing it. Bruxism can result from many psychological and physiological conditions, including medication side effects and the effects of medication withdrawal.
Many times, however, it doesn’t have an obvious cause, and sufferers don’t realize they have it until they’re informed by a partner, wake up in the middle of the night and catch themselves doing it, or are informed by their dentist.
Hard candy can chip your teeth just like ice, but you’re not necessarily safe just by switching to soft candies. These can get stuck in your teeth, becoming trapped and trigging the release of harmful acids. If you don’t floss and brush them out, those harmful acids will remain and may even do more damage than hard candy.
Smoking can stain your teeth. It can also limit blood flow, which prevents your gums from healing and can force them to recede. This is why many lifetime smokers have blackened, cavity-riddled teeth that look like they can be plucked out of the gums by hand (sorry for the image!).
Even if you have good dental hygiene, when you smoke, you’re constantly fighting against the tide.
Not Using a Mouthguard
Football, rugby, boxing, martial arts—any time you partake in combat sports, you need to wear a mouthguard. It protects your teeth from serious harm and will ensure you’re not purchasing your first set of dentures before your 30th birthday.
It’s also important to purchase a mouthguard actually designed for your mouth and to get this changed every time you have extensive dental work completed (such as crowns and veneers). If it’s loose, it needs to be reshaped, as it may fall out and leave you exposed.
Mistreating Your Teeth
We all know that one person who can open a bottle of beer with their teeth. We don’t need to tell you how reckless this is, but it goes much further than that.
You run the risk of doing serious harm to your teeth every time you use them to open plastic packaging, cut sticky tape, and generally use your teeth in the place of a knife or pair of scissors.
Your mouth is not a multi-tool, so save yourself some agony and expensive dental treatments by purchasing an actual multi-tool.
More Than Good Oral Hygiene
As you can see, keeping your teeth in good condition is about much more than remembering to brush, floss, and rinse. Healthy teeth are one of the most precious things you have—just ask anyone who has ever been forced to have them pulled and swapped for dentures.
They’ll tell you that one of their biggest regrets is not taking proper care of their teeth, so don’t make the same mistake they did and make sure you care for those chompers.
For more information, take a look at our guide on keeping your real teeth as you age.