While maintaining good oral hygiene is high on the list of having healthy teeth and gums, some daily habits can be damaging to our teeth. Some of these habits are subconscious, or we may not have the proper education about them! Here are seven habits to avoid that will protect your teeth from harm and save you a serious visit with your Medicine Hat dentist.

Medicine Hat dentist
Medicine Hat dentist

1. Using your teeth as tools

Some of the most common ways people use their teeth as tools are opening a bottle, cracking a crab leg open, or tearing through a package. We know it can be tempting to use your teeth as a tool because it’s more convenient at that moment. But imagine if you accidentally chip or crack a tooth in the process. The convenience is gone, and you’ll need to go in for treatment!

2. Biting down or chewing hard objects

Biting your nails or constantly chewing on pencils or pens during work is a subconscious habit that can destroy your teeth over time. The sooner you become aware of this habit, the sooner you can stop when you realize you’re doing it. And the sooner you stop the habit altogether, the less damage to your teeth.

3. Brushing too hard

Although brushing and flossing are essential for achieving good dental health, brushing too hard can erode enamel and irritate your gums. Always use the correct brushing technique – tilt your brush to a 45-degree angle and brush lightly in small circular motions.

4. Grinding your teeth and clenching your jaw

Constant grinding and clenching weaken teeth to the point they need to be extracted. However, grinding can happen during the night while sleeping (a condition known as bruxism). If this is the case, speak to your dentist in Medicine Hat about a night guard and some stress-relief techniques to relax the jaw.

5. Brush too soon after a meal

Yes, brushing too soon after a meal can scrub off weakened enamel from your teeth! When you eat, your mouth may be in an acidic state. Part of the saliva’s role is to neutralize this, but it needs time. Wait at least 30 minutes after a meal to brush.

6. Use charcoal toothpaste, teeth whitening, or other dental products

Charcoal products are the latest trend – from soap to deodorant, face masks to toothpaste. However, charcoal doesn’t belong on your teeth and gums. Charcoal is more abrasive than toothpaste, irritating your gums and wearing away at the protective enamel. Always talk to your dentist before you try any DIY treatments or the latest teeth whitening trends. The lack of science behind some of these products can do more harm than good.

7. Play extreme sports without a mouthguard

Some of the most serious teeth injuries are a result of playing extreme sports or activities, and it’s often because the participant was not using a mouthguard at the time. It’s important to invest in a good, quality mouthguard to protect your teeth. Not doing so can lead to a major teeth injury with a heftier price tag to repair.

Medically reviewed by Dr. Gurshant Grew - D.D.S. on May 6, 2021

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