Bad Dental Habits and How to Avoid Them
By Dr. David Wyse on March 16, 2016
Bad dental habits are one of the biggest threats to oral health, leading to tooth decay, gum disease, and even tooth loss. Fortunately, restorative dentistry treatments can help reverse the damage caused by bad dental habits, improving the smile's appearance and function. Preventing dental damage begins with avoiding bad dental habits. Learn more about bad dental habits and how to avoid them in this overview from Bloomington, IL dentists Jay W. Chrisman and David D. Wyse.
Issues with Brushing
Most of us know we should brush our teeth at least twice a day to reduce the risk of gum disease and tooth decay, but what some may not know is that the way we brush can make brushing more or less effective. Of course, not brushing the teeth is one of the worst bad habits for oral health, but brushing too quickly or too aggressively can also be damaging. Avoid these bad brushing habits to get the most out of your at-home oral hygiene routine.
- Not regularly brushing the teeth: At a minimum, the teeth should be brushed twice a day, once in the morning and once before bed. Skipping brushing allows plaque, tartar, and leftover bits of food to buildup on the teeth, increasing the risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
- Not brushing the teeth long enough: Speeding through brushing may be one of the most common bad habits when it comes to oral care. Brushing too quickly can leave harmful plaque and food remnants on the teeth, which is why it's important to brush for a full two minutes each time you brush. Singing a two-minute song while you brush or using a timed electric toothbrush can help you ensure you've brushed long enough.
- Brushing too aggressively: Although it may seem like brushing hard would clean the teeth well, it can actually cause more harm than good. Using heavy pressure, a hard-bristled brush, or both, when brushing can actually wear away the enamel over time, leaving the teeth vulnerable to decay. If you're a heavy-handed brusher, try switching to a soft-bristled toothbrush to protect the enamel.
- Not replacing your toothbrush: Toothbrushes aren't intended to last forever and should be replaced once every three months. Brushing with an old toothbrush decreases the effectiveness of brushing and increases the risk of infection.
Not Flossing Daily
It's not enough to floss the week before seeing the dentist. Flossing should be done everyday, but unfortunately, many people neglect flossing and don’t include it in their daily oral hygiene routine. Flossing is essential for removing plaque and food remnants between the teeth and along the gum line, where brushing alone can't reach, making it one of the most effective ways to prevent gum disease. Good flossing habits include flossing at least once a day along each side of each tooth.
Avoiding the Dentist
Avoiding regular trips to the dentist is another common bad dental habit. Skipping regular dental exams and cleanings can let oral health issues go undetected for years. Regular dental exams and cleanings should be scheduled once every six months to maintain the health of your teeth and gums.
Ignoring the signs of dental damage, like tooth sensitivity or pain, is another bad dental habit that is dangerous to oral health. Avoiding the dentist can lead to minor dental problems becoming worse. Seeking treatment as soon as you suspect a dental issue can help protect your smile.
Using the Teeth as Tools
Many of us are guilty of using our teeth as tools to open packages or cut tape. Using your teeth as tools puts the teeth at risk of chipping or breaking. Even chewing on pen caps or biting your nails can damage the teeth. Try chewing sugar-free gum to break the habit.
Schedule a Consultation
Drs. Chrisman and Wyse offer a variety of dental treatments to restore the damage caused by bad dental habits. To receive your personalized treatment plan, we invite you to schedule a consultation today.
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“I love my "new teeth." I feel so much better about my smile. The staff at Dr. Chrisman's office was very friendly and professional. I would recommend them to anyone looking for excellent dental care.” Jennifer B