Daily Don’ts: Bad Habits That Hurt Your Teeth

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Mar 122014


Good oral hygiene is important for healthy teeth and a healthy lifestyle. Unfortunately, many common habits that are done during the day can damage the teeth. Some of these unconscious habits can lead to tooth decay or gum disease over the course of a few months or years. Dr. Damon Barbieri outlined some of these bad habits that can hurt your teeth and should be avoided as much as possible.

Grinding Teeth

The muscles in the jaw are incredibly powerful. Clenching the jaw or grinding teeth can cause serious damage over time. The pressure between the teeth can result in small microfractures that eventually cause teeth to break or crack. Grinding teeth can also potentially damage existing dental work like fillings or crowns. This habit should be broken as quickly as possible.

Snacking On Sugary Foods and Drinks

Snacking on sugary foods or drinking soda during the day can lead to cavities, tooth decay and gum disease. The sugars in candy and soda cling to the teeth, encouraging the growth of harmful bacteria that eat away at enamel and take root in the gums. The result is discoloration, bad breath and eventual decay of the teeth. Eating candy and other sugary snacks, as well as drinking sugary drinks, should be avoided or kept to a minimum.


Using Teeth as Tools

A very bad habit is using your teeth as tools. This means using the teeth to open bags, open bottles or cut through tape. This exposes the teeth to unnecessary stress. It can take only a second for the stress of pressing down on a hard bottle cap or a rigid plastic container to crack the teeth. Using the teeth as tools also slowly wears down the bite plane so that teeth become more vulnerable to bacteria and other damage in the future. Teeth should be used only for eating, and not for opening everyday items.

Nail Biting

Nail biting is a nervous habit many people have. Nail biting can actually have a very detrimental effect on the teeth. It wears down the surface of the front teeth in the mouth. The irregular pressure that comes from biting your nails can slowly push the teeth out of alignment over time. This can result in the development of crooked teeth in adults. Teeth could even splinter because of nail biting.

Too Much Alcohol

Alcohol is very corrosive to the teeth. Drinking large amounts of alcohol will eventually start to wear away the enamel covering the teeth. This can lead to staining as the dentin is slowly revealed. Alcohol also tends to make the mouth dry. A dry mouth prevents the development of saliva that contains beneficial bacteria. This allows harmful bacteria to grow on and around the teeth and gums. Excessive alcohol consumption will eventually lead to tooth damage.


As most people know, smoking is a bad habit for a number of reasons. One of those is that smoking will stain teeth so that they begin to turn an unattractive yellow or brown color. The nicotine in cigarettes is a carcinogen, meaning nicotine can lead to the development cancer in the mouth. It also weakens the gums. It is best to stop smoking immediately to protect your mouth and overall health.

Brushing Too Often

Although brushing two to three times a day is healthy, brushing too much will harm the teeth. Brushing more than the recommended amount will start to scrub away the enamel of the teeth. The toothbrush could act like sandpaper if a person brushes too hard too. Brushing should be limited to two to three times each day and it is also important not to apply too much pressure to your teeth and gums while brushing.

Barbieri Orthodontics serves Nashville, Murfreesboro and Smyrna, Tennessee. Contact them today to find out more about Damon braces, Invisalign and more!