Having healthy teeth is not only important to your overall appearance, it also contributes to your overall well-being.

Here are 12 things you can avoid to maintain/achieve better oral health.

  1. Sugary Foods and Drinks
    Food and drinks that are sugary produce an acid that causes damage to tooth enamel, which can cause tooth decay.
  2. Lack of Water
    A dry mouth is the worst environment for decay, allowing the bacteria to multiply and preventing saliva from buffering the acids they make.
  3. Nail Biting
    Over time, habits like nail biting can cause excessive wear and sometimes, even chipping or cracking of the front teeth.
  4. Heavy Brushing
    Aggressive brushing can harm your teeth more than help. When you brush too hard, you can actually wear enamel away over time, leading to a variety of problems. Using anything other than a soft toothbrush will cause erosion of the enamel and recession of the gums.
  5. Acidic Foods and Beverages
    Acidic foods and beverages dissolve tooth enamel and also provides an environment that promotes the harmful bacteria in the oral cavity.
  6. Neglecting Baby Teeth
    Even though baby teeth eventually fall out, they are essential in maintaining the appropriate tooth spacing relationships needed in the jaw to ensure proper development and eruption of the permanent teeth. If a baby tooth gets a cavity, it is important to fill it instead of removing it.
  7. Using Your Teeth as Tools
    Using your teeth to open things, remove tags, open beer bottles or to bite string, etc. can chip or break teeth and cause excessive wear. You might not even realize you’re doing it. Next time you catch yourself doing this- reach for the scissors or the proper tool, instead.
  8. Thumb Sucking
    Prolonged thumb sucking beyond the age of 4 can result in a narrow arch form, protrusion of the permanent front teeth and orthodontic problems in general.
  9. Smoking
    Smoking not only is related to oral cancer, but constricts peripheral blood vessels and greatly contributes to periodontal disease.
  10. Chewing Ice
    Chewing ice often leads to cold sensitivity and cracked teeth, problems with fillings and crowns, and even sore jaw muscles.
  11. Grinding
    Grinding (or bruxism) can cause excessive wear, pain, fractured or cracked teeth, headaches, and contribute to jaw joint (TMJ) problems. If you grind your teeth, it is very important to have an occlusal guard/night guard made and wear it regularly to help protect your teeth. This does not stop the grinding habit-but will guard your teeth from damage.
  12. Failure to Wear Athletic Guards
    Engaging in contact sports while not wearing the appropriate athletic mouth guard can lead to quite severe traumatic injuries to the teeth including tooth loss.


In addition to habits that damage teeth, avoiding preventive dental care can also greatly impact your oral health. It’s easy to get caught up in life and tell yourself that you’re just too busy for a dental checkup, or to think that the twinge of pain you feel whenever you bite down a certain way will likely go away by itself in time, but don’t neglect to visit your dentist regularly. Make the time and take the effort to place that call.