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Avoid These Harmful Dental Habits

Avoid These Bad Habits For Your Chompers

I know dental care isn't the most exciting topic, but healthy teeth are important and make for a lovely smile. Speaking of lovely smiles, remember the scene in Pretty Woman when Julia Roberts announces that "you shouldn't neglect your gums"? With that said, let's review some common bad dental habits that can lead to health issues like gingivitis. And since nobody likes getting that disappointing look from her dentist, make the doctor proud by avoiding these habits.

  • Brushing too hard or using a firm-bristled toothbrush. We all want to get that plaque off our teeth, but jamming your toothbrush back and forth with extreme intensity can permanently (as in forever) wear away the protective enamel on your teeth. It could also lead to increased tooth sensitivity and receding gums, the latter of which could require surgery. Ouch!
  • Brushing side to side. I was a big horizontal brusher for years, and it was hard work to break this habit, but circular motions are the best way to clean your teeth gently yet effectively.
  • Not brushing long enough. Two to three minutes is recommended.
  • Not flossing daily or ever. Sorry to say, but a toothbrush only cleans the surfaces of your teeth. Using floss is the only way to clean in between your teeth, so if you don't do it daily, plaque can form and cause cavities.
  • Using your teeth as tools. While your sharp incisors can help you rip open a package of trail mix, you're asking for trouble. This is a sure way to chip or crack your teeth or damage fillings.

What other bad habits are ruining your teeth and gums? To find out


  • Not using a fluoride rinse. Clinical studies show that by using both a fluoride mouthwash and a fluoride toothpaste, you can provide extra protection against tooth decay more than if you use fluoride toothpaste on its own.
  • Not seeing the dentist regularly. OK, so going to the dentist isn't as fun as going out for ice cream, but if you don't get your teeth cleaned and checked professionally twice a year, you're bound to end up with some serious and painful dental problems, like a root canal, that could have you sitting in the chair for hours.
  • Choosing white wine. While red wine can lead to staining, the acidity in white wine wears away tooth enamel.

It's time to vent. What unhealthy habits are you guilty of when it comes to your teeth?

Join The Conversation
danakscully64 danakscully64 7 years
What about ice crunching? That's my downfall :p
northen123 northen123 7 years
White wine and not brushing long enough - that last one was always a problem. I just get bored!
Spectra Spectra 7 years
I brush too hard, or at least I did until my dentist told me that my gums have started receding because of it. I had one of those Crest Spin Brushes and it ripped my gums to shreds, essentially. Now I'm having to have a gum graft procedure done (tomorrow, actually) to fix the spot that's a problem. I now have an extra-soft toothbrush and I'm careful to not brush too hard, especially around the gumline.
JLMac JLMac 7 years
brown spots are common in crest pro-health products. it's in the stannous flouride they use.
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