Taking care of your teeth and your oral hygiene is not simply a matter of brushing well and frequently. This is only four minutes of your day, and really what will dictate the health of your teeth much more is the way you spend the rest of your days in between those periods.
And often looking after the health of your teeth is just as much about what you don’t do as it is about what you do do.
In particular, there are numerous different habits that are shared by a lot of people and all of which can be detrimental to the health and appearance of your teeth and mouth. Throughout your day you may be undermining your dental health and not even know it!
Following are five such habits that you should stop right now if you want to ensure your teeth are as healthy as possible and to avoid doing anything counter to that goal.
Holding Things in Your Mouth
Holding things in your mouth can be bad for your teeth, your oral hygiene and your health in general. Even people who are highly anal when it comes to avoiding germs will sometimes think nothing of putting things in their mouth that are swarming in bacteria. Case in point – pens and pencils. If you are chewing the end of a pen or pencil that someone else has been using, then there’s a good chance that you’ll be taking in the staphylococcus virus, influenza and a wealth of other types of bacteria. People put keys in their mouth which have been on the floor, inside the door lock, on a range of surfaces and manhandled by all kinds of people…
At the same time, holding things in your mouth is a sure fire way to chip a tooth or scratch away your enamel – especially if you are holding things that are very heavy or very hard. This is something I personally know all-too-well having chipped my front tooth on a bottle of Newcastle Brown Ale at university. Be sensible and remember that your mouth is much more fragile than your hands!
Biting Open Bottle Caps
Biting open bottle caps is a cool trick and a great way to enjoy your favourite cold beer when you don’t have a bottle opener to hand. Or at least it is up until the point where you slip, and the lid of the bottle scrapes down the front of your teeth removing the enamel and then scratching your gums. Yup that’s pretty much the best way to cause a world of damage to your teeth in no time at all!
Sucking Your Thumb
Again, sucking your thumb is unhygienic and it’s a great way to fill your mouth with all the different bacteria you’ve touched throughout the day.
Worse though, this is also going to damage your teeth. That’s because you’ll be sucking against your teeth and placing pressure on them directly with your thumb. Although that’s not enough to cause any damage in the short term, in the long term it can actually cause your teeth to move to the point where they jut out forward at the top and bottom and leave a big gap between your front teeth. If you don’t believe me, or if you’re thinking right now that it ‘can’t be that bad’, try typing ‘tooth sucking teeth’ into Google Images and see what comes up. It’s really not a good look.
Grinding you teeth can actually wear them down over time and even cause them to crack if you aren’t careful. Now unfortunately most of us aren’t aware that we’re actually grinding our teeth, until we wake up the next day with a splitting headache and sore jaw (or until our partners smack us across the head).
So what’s the answer? Well the best option is just to try and address whatever is causing you so much stress in your life that you have ended up grinding your teeth. Reducing stress will improve your health generally and also make life that much more enjoyable and pleasant.
The option that is more likely to be immediately effective though is to use a mouth guard which you can use to prevent yourself biting down while you sleep. This may not be comfortable to sleep in, but it’s vastly preferable to grinding.
Sports are not bad for your teeth. What’s bad for your teeth is playing contact sports like boxing or rugby and not wearing a mouth guard. This can seem like an irritating expense, but it is a crucial one if you want to make sure that you aren’t going to lose a tooth to your hobby – or possibly all of them. Don’t risk your teeth, be sensible and use this smart form of insurance.