If you're brushing, flossing and seeing your dentist for checkups, then you're doing all you can to keep your teeth healthy, right? Wrong. While these are the first steps towards great dental health, there are a lot of little habits that people develop that can lead to issues like tooth decay and gum disease. Here's a look at four common little habits that may be unhinging your dental health.
Sipping coffee all day.
Drinking coffee all day is often recommended against because it is costly and will stain your teeth – but if you put milk or sugar in your coffee, it can do more than cause stains. Constantly bathing your teeth in sugary coffee all day feeds oral bacteria that cause gum disease and tooth decay. To protect your teeth, consider replacing your coffee with unsweetened herbal tea, or better yet, water. If you just can't kick the coffee habit, try using a sugarless sweetener like sucralose or stevia extract instead of sugar. And stay away from creamers and milk – they both contain sugar, too.
Crunching on ice and hard candy.
Ice and hard candy are too hard for you to be safely crunching on. Even if you don't immediately crack your teeth while munching on these items, you will be weakening your enamel by doing so. Weak enamel is more prone to cracks in the future and is also prone to cavities. Try to avoid munching on anything that's crunchier than the average pretzel.
Brushing too hard.
The more pressure you apply with your tooth brush, the better – right? Sadly, this is not the case. You want to brush your teeth rather gently to remove the plaque without actually causing any damage to the tooth enamel. If your toothbrush's bristles are bending after just a few uses, you're brushing too hard. If your fingers grow tired after brushing, this is another sign that you're brushing too hard. Lighten up a bit, and your enamel will stay in better shape.
Putting lemon in your water.
Enjoying a slice of lemon in your water every now and then is not a problem, but you should not be making a regular habit of putting lemon slices or lemon juice (or lime, for that matter) in your water. Lemon and lime juice are acidic, and constantly exposing your teeth to them can lead to enamel damage.
If you have any of the bad habits above, start breaking them today. Your teeth will thank you! Contact a dentist, such as Hughes Thomas R, for more information.