6 Oral Habits to Avoid

We often talk about the most beneficial oral habits for healthy teeth. Brushing twice a day for two minutes each time, flossing, and eating a healthy diet are all important. But what about negative habits that could harm your teeth over time? Let’s take a look at six common oral habits you should avoid if you want healthy teeth for life.

Woman biting her nails next to a pencil that has been chewed on

1. Chewing on Ice & Non-Food Items

If you chew on ice, pencils, pens, or fingernails, or use your teeth to open packages and boxes, you’re just asking for a chipped tooth. Only chew on food, sugar-free gum, and sugar-free mints that were meant for your teeth. Doing otherwise can lead to broken or weakened teeth.

Cluster of disgusting used cigarettes

2. Smoking & Using Tobacco Products

Tobacco products are notoriously harmful to your overall health, especially to your heart and lungs. And your teeth are no exception to the negative effects of tobacco. This habit causes stained teeth, bad breath, and dry mouth (which allows bacteria to flourish). It also increases your risk of mouth sores and gum disease, since tobacco hurts your immune system. Do all you can to quit smoking as soon as possible!

Collage of sports that athletes would benefit from wearing an athletic mouthguard

3. Not Wearing an Athletic Mouthguard

We applaud patients who care for their bodies with regular physical activity, but don’t forget to protect your teeth while doing so! Use caution when participating in activities that involve potential contact with other players, equipment, or the ground if you fall. Having an athletic mouthguard can prevent you from losing teeth whether you get accidentally elbowed in the face, a ball hits you in the jaw, or you face plant. At Jackson Smiles Family Dentistry, we provide custom-fitted athletic mouthguards that deliver optimal protection with maximum comfort.

Brunette woman grinding her teeth while sleeping because she has bruxism

4. Not Wearing a Nightguard with Bruxism

If you often wake up with a sore jaw or have noticed teeth sensitivity, you may have bruxism. This condition involves chronic teeth grinding and clenching, particularly while sleeping. Over time, grinding can weaken your teeth and cause them to break. If you chronically grind your teeth at night, we recommend getting a nightguard to prevent damage to your teeth. Talk to us about this at your next appointment.

A silhouette of a fork and spoon in powdered sugar on a blue counter

5. Eating & Drinking Sugar in Excess

Sugar in sodas, fruit juice, crackers, potato chips, cookies, and your coffee and tea encourages bad oral bacteria to grow and accumulate into a sticky film of plaque on your teeth and along your gumline. This bacteria produces acids that damage your tooth enamel, causing decay and cavities. As much as possible, substitute sugary drinks with water, and opt for healthier snack options like nuts and vegetables instead of refined carbohydrates.

Brunette man getting his teeth cleaned at the dentist by a hygienist in blue gloves

6. Skipping the Dentist

Although we understand it can be difficult to find the time to visit the dentist, biannual visits are a must for healthy teeth. At your appointment, we will deep clean your teeth and scrape off any plaque and tartar to help prevent the occurrence of bad breath, tooth discoloration, decay, and gum disease. We’ll also screen for concerning issues like oral cancer, and answer any dental-related questions you may have. We are open Monday through Thursday from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM, and Friday by appointment.

Do you need help improving your oral health habits? Contact us today to schedule an appointment at Jackson Smiles Family Dentistry.

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