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Many of us have unwittingly developed bad dental habits over the years without realising just what sort of damage we’re doing to our teeth. While it’s common knowledge that eating foods that cause cavities or discolouration is a big no-no, there are other lesser known habits that might be causing your pearly whites some grief.
Many dieters believe that eating ice cubes actually work as a calorie and sugar-free alternative to constant snacking. However, it’s not healthy for your teeth to remain in constant icy temperatures – not only should your mouth be kept at around 37°C, but ice cubes are far too hard for your teeth to chew. Over time, crunching down on ice can develop into a subconscious habit that may even create strain on your jaws from the impact of constant hard biting. Opt for healthy snacking alternatives like celery sticks or carrots.
Did you assume that hard-bristled toothbrushes clean more thoroughly? Don’t worry, you’re not the only one. You might be surprised to know that many dentists actually advise against using hard-bristled brushes because they are often too abrasive for your tooth enamel, which is the natural protective layer of your teeth. Enamel erosion can cause tooth sensitivity, roughen the edges of your teeth and expose the yellowish dentine layer underneath. A good soft toothbrush used correctly still offers a thorough clean without damaging your teeth.
C’mon guys, bottle openers are around for a reason - our teeth aren’t designed for cheap party tricks! Before you attempt to open a bottle with your teeth, be warned - you could damage your teeth without even realising it. The bottle cap can chip or fracture your tooth enamel which may become a major dental issue later on. Just don’t do it.
If you play a sport that could result in an impact to the face – eg. boxing, football, hockey, judo – it’s always a good idea to wear a mouthguard. Custom mouthguards are a great investment and designed to help protect your teeth from any sudden injury that may result in some costly dental fees. Love your sport? Then, put your money where your mouth is!
We know it’s easy to forget to floss, but seriously, it should be an important part of your daily oral care routine. Failing to floss allows food and bacteria to build up in between your teeth and in the small spaces near your gums. Take the floss challenge and floss every day for a month to get yourself used to flossing regularly. To do it correctly, gently pass the floss through the space between the teeth and run the floss along the sides of each tooth, cleaning within ‘the pink triangle’ – the space between your gum and adjacent teeth. It may take an extra minute or two but the benefits of flossing are definitely worth it.
The fear of going to the dentist is perhaps the most damaging for your teeth’s overall health. If going to the dentist has you shaking in your boots, it might be worth investigating the many sleep dentistry techniques that may make treatment more comfortable. If you experience any form of dental anxiety, remember to ask your dentist about sleep dentistry today.
Looking for a trusted dentist to help you achieve a beautiful and healthy smile? Find your nearest nib Dental Care Centre by phoning 1300 345 300 or visit nibdental.com.au
Read more about keeping your teeth in tip top condition - How often should you be replacing your toothbrush? Hint: you're not doing it enough