Six solutions for a healthy smile

Even the best of us sometimes develop habits that are hard to break.  Today, we’re sharing some tips from the American Dental Association on six of the most common bad habits for your dental health and what you can do to change those habits:

  1. Nail BitingUnknown

The habit: This nervous habit can chip teeth and impact your jaw.

The solution: Bitter-tasting nail polishes, stress reduction and setting small, realistic goals can help. If certain situations are triggers, hold something to keep your fingers busy.

  1. Brushing Too Hardtoothbrushes

The habit: Brushing for two minutes twice a day is one of the best habits you can get into. Just make sure you’re not trying too hard.

The solution: Use a soft toothbrush with the ADA Seal of Acceptance at the proper pressure. Instead of scrubbing, think about massaging.

  1. Grinding and Clenching

The habit: This can cause chipping or cracking of the teeth, as well as muscle tenderness or joint pain.

The solution: Relaxation and staying aware of this habit can help.  You might also consider a nighttime mouthguard to lessen tooth damage and muscle soreness.

  1. Chewing Ice Cubesimages

The habit: Both tooth enamel and ice are like crystals, and when you push two crystals together, one will break.  Most of the time it’s the ice, but beware that it can sometimes be the tooth.

The solution: Drink chilled beverages without ice, or use a straw so you’re not tempted.

  1. Constant SnackingGummy bears TLL #43

The habit: Grazing all day, especially on sugary foods and drinks, puts you at a higher risk for cavities. When you eat, cavity-causing bacteria feast leftover food, producing an acid that attacks the outer shell of your teeth.

The solution: Eat balanced meals to feel fuller, longer. If you need a snack, make sure it’s low in fat and sugar. If you indulge in the occasional sugary treat, follow it with a big glass of water to wash away leftover food.

  1. Using Your Teeth as Tools

The habit: Your teeth were made for eating, not to stand in as a pair of scissors or hold things when your hands are full. When you do this, you put yourself at a higher risk of cracking your teeth, injuring your jaw or accidentally swallowing something you shouldn’t.

The solution: Stop and find something or someone to give you a hand. You will be much happier in the long run!

Are there any other habits you can think of that may be harmful to your teeth?  Let us know, and we may have some advice on how to change those habits and improve your smile.


At Mitchell Dentistry, we always welcome your comments and feedback.

All the best,

Dr. Jim