Bad dental habits: 6 habits that wreck your teeth


Many of us are causing unnecessary damage to our teeth on a daily basis. There are six main bad habits we find are a big cause of dental problems.

1. Brushing too hard or too often

If you are using a hard bristled toothbrush, brushing too forcefully, or brushing too often you may be causing your gums to recede and wearing away your teeth. These habits can cause your gums recede, exposing the root surface of your tooth. The root surface is not covered by enamel and is much softer, making it easily worn away by hard or excessive brushing. We recommend brushing twice a day using a soft toothbrush and gentle circular motions.

2. Skipping brushing

Brushing twice a day should be part of everyone’s daily routine. Fatigue or running short on time can lead to feelings like there’s no time to brush or its’ too much effort. Brushing is the only way to remove the bacteria and plaque from your teeth. Without proper daily oral hygiene, plaque and calculus (tartar) can cause cavities and gum disease. Brushing twice a day is the best way to keep your mouth healthy. When you are sleeping you don’t have the same saliva production protecting your teeth that you do during the day, making going to bed with clean teeth really important. Don’t forget to avoid eating or drinking after you’ve brushed your teeth at night.

3. Snacking between meals

Whenever you eat sugar, the bacteria (plaque) on your teeth eat that sugar and create acid. It takes between 30 minutes to an hour for saliva to restore the neutral pH of your mouth after eating. The amount of sugar you eat is not as important as the frequency that it’s eaten. It’s recommended you avoid grazing on snacks and drinks other than water between meals to reduce the frequency acid is attacking your teeth. The more often you snack, the higher your risk of developing tooth decay.

4. Using your teeth as a tool

Your teeth are not a handy tool for opening bottles, removing tags, trimming nails or cutting fishing line, they are designed for eating. The more you use your teeth as a tool for opening or tearing various objects, the greater the risk of causing permanent damage. Using your teeth for any other reason than eating can cause chipping, cracking and breakage.

5. Clenching and grinding

Clenching or grinding your teeth exerts excessive bite forces that can result in tooth wear, fractures or jaw pain. Common causes include: emotional or physical stress, mental concentration, incorrect tooth alignment, drug misuse and erupting teeth in children. Grinding and clenching during the day can be avoided by realising the behaviour and consciously stopping yourself. If you are grinding or clenching your teeth during your sleep, your dentist may recommend you wear a splint to protect your teeth from further damage.

6. Not wearing a mouthguard

If you participate in any sport that involves falls, body contact or flying equipment, you should wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth. Not wearing a mouthguard puts you at unnecessary risk of complicated and expensive dental problems. Don’t forget to wear a mouthguard during training as well as games.