6 Habits Hurting Your Teeth that You Should Leave in 2015

As you recover from last night’s celebrating (hopefully brushing your teeth is part of that!) and as you ponder the New Year, consider your mouth’s health. Those resolutions are a wonderful way to plan a better quality of life. Experts say that the more specific your goals, the more likely you are to succeed at either creating healthy habits or getting rid of negative ones. So as you look over this list of habits that are damaging your teeth, take a long, honest look at whether you need to overcome them. It may just save your teeth.

Tobacco Products
This resolution is not uncommon. The trick is to take action steps or make achievable goals. More than 852 million people worldwide smoke or chew tobacco products. In addition to all the life threatening ailments and concerns for the body, tobacco products also stain teeth, inflame and cut off blood circulation to the gums, and wear away tooth enamel to allow plaque and tartar to the inner tooth and roots. There are lots of options, including free government classes or programs, that can help you stop using tobacco products. “The American Lung Association has a free online program called Freedom from Smoking Online or you can call 1-800-QUIT-NOW.” (Source: Natural News.)

man holding up a hand to offered pack of cigarettes. Quit smoking in 2016.

Using a Toothpick
Did you know that the invention of the modern toothpick was a marketing tactic to use up bits of lumber back in 1870? Even before that for thousands of years, the toothpick was the second cousin to the chewing stick. Some ancient civilizations even made fancy, stone or metal ones and treated them like jewelry to determine placement in society.

Despite this long history, toothpicks are not very good for your oral cavity. Most dentists encourage their patients not to use them because they can scratch the enamel and inflame the gums if they are rubbed or poked regularly. To break the habit, keep a flosser or interdental brush handy or even out in a shot glass in places in your house where you use to keep the toothpicks. This will be a great way to keep your teeth clean instead.

Satisfy Cravings the Healthy Way

Using Your Teeth to Open Wrappers, Remove Bottle Tops, and Tear Away Tags
While our teeth are designed to tear food into chewable pieces, they are not strong enough to withstand the sharp or tough pieces of plastic or metal that makes up product packaging or bottle caps. These can crack or scratch the enamel of your teeth and grind the tops of them, as well as pose a threat for lip or face cuts when they accidently slip from your bite. Resolve to use scissors or bottle openers to keep your mouth and face safe your teeth strong.

Chewing on Non-Food Items to Relieve Stress
The habit of gnawing on items such as pencil erasers, frames of your glasses, fingernails, or other items found at home or the office are all horrible for your teeth. Not only are you destroying property, making your fingers hurt or bleed, or warping your glasses’ frames, but you may also be scratching or breaking your teeth. If you have orthodontic devices placed in your mouth, then there is also a good chance that you can damage them and cause a longer treatment time period. Over time, you can also move your teeth’s position. Usually this problem is due to stress or anxiety, which can be treated in many other ways. Consider exercise, yoga, meditation, and counseling. Any of these can help you feel more at ease and save your teeth some unnecessary problems.

Ice Crunching
Just as unpackaging products with your teeth is detrimental to the health of your teeth and gums, crunching ice can seriously break or scratch your teeth. Blended coffees or smoothies are the most modern culprits for this, but even those who do so with the ice left in a cup after they’ve consumed the drink it was keeping cold. In addition to fracturing tooth enamel, over time chewing ice can also breakdown the chewing surface of your back teeth. The best way to turn around this habit is to order or make drinks without ice.


A Changed Habit is Priceless
Whether you’re choosing to stop these habits or simply to better to take care of your mouth or teeth, use the tips provided as a springboard. By leaving these habits in 2015, you can be sure that 2016 will be the best year ever for your teeth and your self-control.

About Mark C. Marchbanks, D.D.S.

Dr. Mark Marchbanks has practiced dentistry in Arlington Texas since 1983. He enjoys caring for patients young and old. You can find Dr. Marchbanks on
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If it's been more than 6 months since your last teeth cleaning, give us a call today to schedule your check-up.

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