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Dr. Edwards' Blog

Bad Habits That Can Wreck Your Teeth -- April 22, 2013

We've all heard the good habits we need to have to keep our teeth healthy -- like brushing, flossing and going to the dentist for regular check-ups.  But some habits are actually bad for teeth and you might not even realize it.  WebMD recently published a list of habits that can wreck your teeth.

  • Chewing ice -- It might seem harmless enough, but chomping down on those hard, frozen cubes can chip and even crack your teeth.
  • Playing sports without a mouth guard -- If you or your children play any kind of contact sport, be sure to invest in a mouth guard to protect the upper row of teeth.  You can purchase self-fitting ones or your dentist can custom make one for you.
  • Lip and tongue piercings -- Biting down on the metal stud can crack a tooth and when the medal rubs against your gums, it can cause gum damage that can lead to tooth loss.  Piercings can also raise the risk of infections and sores in the mouth.
  • Avoid too much sugar -- cough drops, gummy candy, soda, sports and fruit drinks contain high levels of sugar that can cause cavities.
  • Opening stuff with your teeth -- Opening bottle caps or plastic packaging with your teeth might be convenient, but this is one habit that makes dentists cringe.  Using teeth as tools can cause them to chip or crack.  Instead, keep scissors and bottle openers handy.   The same is true if you have a habit of chewing on pencils.  Remember, your teeth should only be used for eating.
  • Watch both red and white wine -- The acids in both types of wine can weaken the enamel and cause staining.
  • Limit coffee -- This morning pick-me-up may get your day going, but it also can stain your teeth.
  • Stop smoking -- Cigarettes, as well as other tobacco products, can stain teeth and cause them to fall out as a result of gum disease.  Tobacco can also cause cancer of the mouth, lips and tongue.  If you need one more reason to kick this bad habit, think of your smile.

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