Did you know that one in five Americans has untreated cavities? Cavities are a serious problem and can cause a lot of pain and discomfort. In this blog post, we will discuss the ten bad habits that contribute to cavities. If you want to keep your teeth healthy and cavity-free, it is important to be aware of these habits and avoid them!
Drinking soda is one of the worst things you can do for your teeth. The sugar and acid in soda can damage your tooth enamel and lead to cavities. Dark sodas have also been found to stain teeth when consumed frequently. If you must drink soda, be sure to use a straw, limit your soda intake, and brush your teeth afterwards.
Chewing on Gummy Snacks:
Chewing on gummy snacks is another bad habit that can damage your teeth. The sticky nature of gummy snacks can cling to your teeth for hours. When this happens, it provides a constant food source for bacteria, which means more acid and a greater risk of developing cavities. If you must eat gummy snacks, opt for the sugar-free candies. You should also brush your teeth 30 minutes after eating the gummy snacks in order to remove any gummy residue from your teeth.
Using Your Teeth as Tools:
Using your teeth as tools is a bad habit that can damage your tooth enamel and lead to cavities. Activities like opening bottles, tearing off tags, or holding things with your teeth can damage and wear down your tooth enamel overtime, making your teeth more susceptible to cavities. Not only that, but these activities have also been found to cause dental emergencies.
Grinding Your Teeth:
Grinding your teeth is a bad habit that can damage your tooth enamel and lead to cavities. This is because grinding the teeth causes damage to the tooth enamel, which makes it easier for bacteria to form cavities. Oftentimes, your dentist will diagnose teeth grinding at a routine appointment when they notice specific wear patterns on your enamel. They may prescribe a nightguard to wear that will prevent damage to the teeth and decrease grinding.
Constant snacking is a bad habit that can damage your teeth. This is because the constant flow of sugar and acid in snacks can damage your tooth enamel and lead to cavities. If you must snack, pick healthy foods like carrots, apples, or celery, and be sure to brush your teeth afterwards.
Smoking is a bad habit that can damage your overall health, as well as your teeth. For starters, the chemicals used in cigarettes cause dry mouth, which increases the risk of both cavities and gum disease. Additionally, the nicotine and tar in cigarettes can stain your teeth.
Brushing Too Soon:
Many people don’t know that brushing too soon after eating or drinking is a bad habit that can damage your teeth. This is because the acid in food and drink can temporarily make your tooth enamel more susceptible to damage and erosion. If you plan on brushing your teeth after meals, be sure to wait 30 minutes after eating or drinking. This allows your saliva to neutralize the acids and decrease the risk of enamel erosion.
Flossing Without Floss:
Flossing without floss is a bad habit that can damage your teeth. The sharp edges of objects like fingernails, toothpicks, cutlery, or safety pins can damage your gums and lead to dental emergencies. Only dental floss can safely and effectively remove plaque from in between the teeth and along the gum line.
Not Maintaining Your Toothbrush:
Not maintaining your toothbrush is a bad habit that can damage your teeth. A dirty toothbrush can harbor bacteria and lead to cavities. To maintain your toothbrush, be sure to replace it every three months or when the bristles start to fray and fade in color. It is also important to store your toothbrush so that it will dry in between uses.
Sharing Eating Utensils:
Sharing eating utensils is a bad habit that can damage your teeth. This is because the bacteria on other people’s utensils can spread to your mouth and lead to cavities. Additionally, sharing eating utensils also spreads cold and flu germs from one person to another. While not recommended, if you must share eating utensils, be sure to clean them thoroughly before using them and brush your teeth afterwards.
In this blog post, we discussed the ten bad habits that contribute to cavities. If you want to keep your teeth healthy and cavity-free, it is important to be aware of these habits and avoid them! Bad habits are hard to break, but if you’re serious about keeping your teeth healthy, it’s worth it to make the effort. For more tips on oral health, be sure to check out our other blog posts!
Dr. Alina Huang has been practicing dentistry in Manhattan for the last eight years. She was born in New York City, and raised in California where she received her Bachelor’s degree at UCLA, and her D.D.S. at the University of the Pacific in San Francisco. She then made her return to NYC where she completed her General Practice Residency at Montefiore Medical Center and has been working in private practice ever since. She continues her learning by attending courses to stay current with the latest advancements in dentistry and refine her skills.