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Surprising Everyday Habits That Wreck Your Smile

shutterstock_131593952Keeping your smile healthy and attractive requires dedicated, daily care. However, even with the best brushing habits, you could be causing serious damage to your smile without knowing it. Here are common habits you should avoid in order to keep your teeth healthy.

Excessive grinding

Many people grind or clench their teeth when they are nervous, stressed or sleeping. When this behavior persists, it can wear down teeth, fracture teeth and even ruin past dental work. Many people who grind also experience frequent jaw pain and headaches. Fortunately, this behavior can usually be managed with something as simple as wearing a custom-fitted oral appliance while you sleep to reduce pressure and damage on the teeth and jaw.

Chomping on ice

If you habitually chew on ice while sipping a cold beverage, you could be setting your teeth up for serious damage. That’s because ice cubes can chip or crack your teeth. Instead of munching on ice, try chewing sugarless gum instead or request your drink without ice when dining out.

Playing sports without protective gear

Just as you need to protect your head and other parts of the body when playing football, hockey or other high impact sports, it’s also important that you protect your smile from injury by wearing a mouth guard. By wearing a custom-fitted mouth guard during sports and other physical activities, you can help avoid chipped or broken teeth, tooth loss and other mouth-related injuries.

Using teeth as tools

Teeth aren’t designed for non-chewing purposes, so avoid using them for tearing tags, biting nails, chomping on pencils or opening packages. When teeth are used for anything other than chewing and smiling, it can lead to fractured teeth, tooth loss or even jaw damage. Instead, use the right tool for the job, such as scissors or pliers, and save yourself a lot of pain and unnecessary dental work in the future.

Drinking soda

Soft drinks may be your beverage of choice, but they contain large amounts of sugar and acids that weaken tooth enamel and contribute to the formation of cavities. To avoid the harmful effects of soft drinks on your smile, rinse your mouth with water after having a soda, reduce the amount you consume, and opt for healthier beverage choices in place of sugary, carbonated drinks.

Smoking

There are countless reasons to stop smoking, and protecting your smile is one of them. Cigarettes and other tobacco products can stain teeth and lead to gum disease and oral cancer. Stop using tobacco now to significantly reduce your risk of serious oral health issues. Other habits that can wreck your smile include getting oral piercings, brushing too hard and even using toothpicks. The good news is that with a heightened awareness of bad dental habits, you can take steps to reduce and eliminate damaging behaviors and preserve your healthy, beautiful smile.

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