A white gleaming smile makes a good first impression. There’s no avoiding it; a smile’s one of things someone will notice and the last thing they’ll forget about you. So, avoid the following seven habits that might be setting you back, and contributing to your ultimate dental hygiene downfall.
1. Overdoing the Lemon Juice
The acidic make-up of lemon juice makes the substance a potential foe of your healthy teeth. You see, the enamel surface of each tooth is primarily mineral-based, and thus highly susceptible to external corrosive factors—lemon juice being the prime example here. Of course, lemon juice isn’t harmful when consumed in moderation, but if you consider yourself a lemonhead, it’s time to cut back and keep up your enamel health!
2. Brushing too Passionately
It may seem logical to think that by brushing your teeth harder, you brush away more bacteria and unwanted buildup. But you don't. It turns out the repeated vigorous brushing away at those pearly whites erodes your enamel, enflames your gums (regardless of their health), and can, in extreme cases, even play a hand in the manifestation of cavities. So instead, brush easy and with a reasonable intensity, and keep your eyes peeled for the toothbrushes labeled as ADA recommended.
3. Teeth Grinding and Jaw Clenching
Of course, these might be pure nervous habits, and both serve as means to chew off pent up stress. The thing is, both teeth grinding and jaw clenching done at long enough durations can result in teeth/jaw fractures (severe cases here), and finally in hefty dental care bills. They're both habits worth quitting.
4. Chewing on Ice after Finishing a Cold Drink
I’ll confess; I’ve chewed on ice countless times myself, and it’s nothing I’m proud of. Unfortunately the reality here is that every time you chew on ice, you’re chipping away at your teeth enamel, which contributes toward overall decay. So next time, toss the ice and if you must chew on something, let it be gum!
5. Nibbling on Your Pen or Pencil
It’s too easy a thing to chomp away on the end of a pencil as a mere tick or mid-exam stress reliever, but you must kick this habit. We can just as easy forget how strong our jaws really are, and the force we’re applying every time we bite down on our writing instruments can, in certain cases, be enough force to fracture a tooth. A fractured tooth will only bring you a whole heck of a lot of pain and dental care bills—both avoidable nuances!
6. Biting Your Nails
It’s a shame that so many of our stress relieving habits tend to in fact bring on health complications, if not moderated to an extent. Nail biting’s no different here folks. According to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), nail biting "can result in up to $4,000 in additional dental bills over one lifetime." The process of nail-biting keeps your teeth in a constant state of motion, which over time can cause further erosion, and in some cases can even gradually force your teeth out of place.
7. Drinking Soda
Soda packs a one-two dynamite punch. First the soda itself will weaken your enamel, and over time bacterial plaque that’s formed can reach inner layers of your teeth—all packed with soda’s high sugar content. That's a quick path to one or more cavities. So skip the soda, and the decay, and err on the side of dentist-approved juices if you must throw back something sweet.