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Women brushing her teeth

You brush your teeth twice every day for a full two minutes with fluoride toothpaste. You’ve incorporated flossing into your daily routine. You rinse with an antiseptic mouthwash. And you’d never think of skipping your twice-yearly dental visits. And you definitely deserve a pat on the back for all that. But it’s also important to be aware of bad dental habits you may be exhibiting that can damage your teeth and gums — and sabotage all your good oral care habits.

At 1st in Smiles, we work with you to keep your teeth and gums healthy. If you live in the Plano, TX area, call 972-380-8105 to schedule an appointment.

If any of these bad dental habits and behaviors sound a little too familiar, make it your goal this year to put an end to them ― for good.

Habit 1: Tobacco Use

How does tobacco hurt your smile? Where to start? The tar and nicotine leach into your tooth enamel, turning it an unattractive shade of yellow-brown. The smell of smoke stays on your breath. Tobacco users are at increased risk of gingivitis and periodontitis — and due to their compromised immune systems, their periodontal disease tends to be more difficult to treat. Tobacco use may also lead to oral cancer. If you are ready to quit, here are some resources from the CDC.

Habit 2: Teeth Grinding and Clenching

One of the sneakiest bad dental habits is bruxism (teeth grinding). People who grind or clench their teeth are often unaware that they are even doing it. They may even do it while they sleep! Unfortunately, this habit is damaging in a number of ways. It can wear down your tooth enamel, damage your gums, and cause painful problems with your TMJ (temporomandibular joint). Stress is often a factor: try to de-stress your life or look into meditation and other relaxation techniques. At 1st in Smiles, we can craft you a special mouthguard that prevents you from grinding your teeth at night.

Habit 3: Chewing On Non-food Objects

This is another nervous habit that you may not even be aware of while you’re doing it. Your teeth are not designed to chew on pencils, fingernails, or even ice. They are also not meant to remove clothing tags or open packages. If you don’t nip this habit in the bud, you may end up with a broken tooth. You may even end up sick — when you put your mouth on an object, you are transferring microbes both ways. Yuck!

Habit 4: Drinking Sugary Beverages

One of the most common bad dental habits is consuming soda and similar drinks. When you consume a sugar-laden beverage like soda, juice, or a sports drink, you are coating your mouth in a layer of dissolved sugar. Not good! The sugar settles into all the crevices of your teeth, feeding hordes of acid-producing bacteria that get to work destroying your tooth enamel. Even diet soda contains harmful acids.

We’re only a month into 2020. This year, resolve to put an end to these bad dental habits. But keep up the good habits of meticulous brushing and flossing at home and twice-yearly dental visits. If you live in the Plano area, call 1st in Smiles at 972-380-8105 to book an appointment.