Habits to stop in 2022 for better oral health

There are many opportunities for self-improvement and change throughout our lifetimes. People set goals and New Year’s resolutions to improve their health, fitness, and finances but often neglect dental health. However, maintaining healthy teeth and gums is vital for your finances and overall health.

Many of us are consistent about maintaining good oral habits – but also tend to keep those that may be putting our teeth and gums at risk for pain and damage. Knowing which habits are bad for your oral health can save you money on dental bills. Keep reading to see which ones to break in 2022 for better oral health.

Top 10 poor oral habits to break in 2022

Improper brushing techniques

Most of us already know the importance of flossing and brushing at least twice a day. But even though you’re consistent with this good habit, it may not be effective if you use the incorrect technique and may still cause problems for your teeth. Using a hard-bristled toothbrush or brushing too hard can erode your tooth enamel and irritate your gums.

The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends brushing twice a day with a toothbrush with soft bristles. They also recommend using circular motions, brushing the teeth for two to three minutes, and replacing the toothbrush every three months or when the bristles are visibly frayed or matted.

Using your teeth as tools

Using your teeth to open items such as bottle caps or packaging may be convenient, but it is a habit that can damage your teeth. It puts you at a higher risk of accidentally swallowing something you shouldn’t, injuring your jaw, or chipping and cracking your teeth.

Be sure to keep can openers, scissors, and other tools where they are easily accessible. Your teeth are for chewing food, not for opening or holding things when your hands are full.

Chewing on objects

Crunching on ice, snacking on your stationary while working, or biting your fingernails are all habits that can damage your teeth. These objects are unsuitable for your mouth, so they can introduce harmful bacteria into your mouth, break your filling, or chip or crack your teeth.

Continuous snacking on ice and other objects can shift your teeth to different positions and impact your smile negatively. It can also irritate your teeth’s soft tissues and lead to regular toothaches. Instead, switch out your object chewing habit with hard-boiled sweets or sugar-free gum.

Tongue piercings 

Tongue piercings are trendy and attractive. But you may be tempted to play and bite on the piercing in your mouth, which could result in a cracked or chipped tooth. Moreover, it can increase your risk for infections since the metal constantly in your mouth is a breeding ground for bacteria.

Drinking sugary beverages

Sugary drinks and foods might taste good, but they can be detrimental to your dental health. They expose your teeth to damaging sugar, which causes plaque buildup and promotes gum and tooth decay. Sugary foods and beverages increase your risk of developing cavities and may also contain acids that damage your tooth enamel.

Avoid sugary foods and beverages. However, if you choose to indulge, take them with meals, so the extra saliva produced while eating will help sweep away the sugars. After eating, rinse your mouth with water to ensure no sugars stick around your mouth.

Smoking or chewing tobacco

Tobacco products are detrimental to your dental health. They can stain your teeth, cause tooth decay, gum, and periodontal disease, and even lead to teeth loss. They can also cause lips, tongue, or mouth cancer.

Consult your dentist to help create a plan to quit tobacco product use and save your dental health.

Drinking coffee, wine, and other alcohol

Coffee and red wine are notoriously known for staining teeth. The acid in red wine and other alcoholic beverages will eat away at your enamel and make them vulnerable to staining. Fortunately, you can undo the staining by brushing regularly or using various teeth whitening methods.

Talk to your dentist if you notice any significant discoloration of your teeth.

Eating late at night and snacking all day

Snacking all day, especially on sugary drinks and foods, puts you at a higher risk for sensitive gums and cavities. The cavity-causing bacteria feast on leftover food particles in your mouth and produce an acid that wears down your teeth’s outer shell.

Saliva production slows down significantly while you sleep. So, eating late at night means you don’t have enough time to wash away the leftover food particles with your saliva before going to bed.

Grinding and clenching your teeth

Stress can make you develop a habit of grinding and clenching your teeth, often without realizing it. However, this habit can lead to cracking or chipping of your teeth, as well as jaw pain and muscle tenderness.

Find productive ways of handling stress like relaxation exercises, counseling, or deep breathing to combat this issue. Reducing your alcohol and caffeine intake and wearing a mouthguard can also help.

Not seeing your dentist for regular checkups

Even if you avoid poor oral habits, you still need to visit your dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings. Your dentists can suggest ways to maintain your oral health and help you stay on top of any potential dental issues.

General Dentistry in Charlotte, Matthews, Mallard Creek, and Wesley Chapel, NC

If you’ve fallen victim to any of the habits listed above, decide to leave it behind and start afresh with good oral habits. This may seem like a daunting task, but you can easily do it by taking one small decision at a time. Visiting your dentist is an excellent place to start and make a huge positive impact on your oral health.

Here at LandMark Dentistry, we focus on prevention and comprehensive care in Charlotte, Matthews, Mallard Creek, and Wesley Chapel and can help you establish healthy oral care habits. Whether you need a routine cleaning, restorative dentistry, or emergency dental service, we offer all the services you need to maintain a healthy smile. Call us today to discuss your oral health concerns, and schedule a consultation with our office to save your teeth.