You brush, floss and rinse daily. So, it is easy to assume that you are taking great care of your teeth, right? What you may not realize, however, is that you may be taking on bad habits that are permanently damaging your teeth.

Even with brushing and flossing twice a day, bad habits can wear down enamel, yellow the colour of your teeth or even force you to get dentures later on in life. Before you assume that you have perfect oral health, make sure you are not giving into or creating a bad habit.

Common Bad Habits for Dental Care and How to Break Them

Regardless of how great your teeth look now, make sure you are not giving in to one of these bad dental habits. If you are, read our suggestions for correcting them or contact your Hamilton dentist before they become a costly (and painful) issue:

1. Not protecting your teeth. Whether you play sports for school or you engage in a lot of recreational activities, your teeth should always be protected. If you go out and get involved in playing contact sports (hockey, football, martial arts or wrestling), you are putting your mouth at risk. To avoid damage, wear a mouth guard. You can buy these at sporting goods stores or have a custom-made guard crafted by your dentist.

2. Grinding your teeth. Not everyone knows they grind their teeth, especially when they do it in their sleep. Grinding your teeth can wear them down over time and lead to sensitivity and breakage. You can be more conscious about grinding during the day, but also wear a night guard while sleeping to prevent damage. A stiff jaw or headaches in the morning can be an indication that you are grinding your teeth. Very few people will know that they brux their teeth at night or during the day due to the fact that it is such an unconscious action. Often only the symptoms produced from grinding will tell you that you are grinding. If you are experiencing jaw stiffness or pain, consult your Hamilton dentist during your next teeth cleaning or dentist visit.

3. Eating the wrong foods. From gummy candy to sucking on cough drops or drinking sodas, all food or drink items that are high in sugar can affect your teeth just as much as your waistline. Sugars, citric acids and phosphoric acids eat away at your enamel and promote the growth of bacteria, which in turn, lead to cavities and decay. It is important to try to reduce how much of these sugary snacks you have in your daily diet. If you do consume sugary foods, brush and rinse your teeth as soon as possible.

4. Using your teeth as tools. Whether you use your teeth to pull open a bag or to open a water bottle, you are risking breakage, chips, cracks and lost teeth. Your teeth are not those kinds of tools! Instead, use your hands or another object and keep your teeth healthy for what they are designed for: chewing food.

5. Smoking. Smoking and other tobacco products can stain your teeth as well as lead to gum disease. If you can muster up the will and determination, start cutting out these bad habits today.

6. Drinking coffee and red wine. Both of these substances are known to stain your teeth. Luckily, the staining can be corrected with over-the-counter as well as professional cosmetic dentistry teeth whitening products. However, you should try to reduce how often you drink these items or swirl some water and rinse out your mouth immediately after consuming them.

7. Using the wrong toothbrush. You may think a hard-bristled brush will get plaque and tartar off your teeth, but instead, you could be damaging your precious tooth enamel. Brushes that are too firm also irritate the gums and can lead to sensitive teeth. Instead, ask your dentist about what toothbrush you should be using for your teeth. A soft-bristled toothbrush is usually the best oral care instrument for most people.

Improper care of your teeth could mean having to opt for dental implants in Hamilton later on in life. By learning the most common bad habits and identifying which ones you may have developed, you can protect your teeth and keep your smile bright for years to come. For parents, keep an eye out for some of these bad habits as your kids begin brushing their own teeth. Ensure that you find a clinic for child and family dentistry in Hamilton to establish regular check-ups to ensure a lifetime of healthy teeth.

Eastgate Dental Centre can help you counteract your bad habits. If you are in need of dentures in Hamilton or looking for a general dentist for the whole family, our team of professionals can help.

Schedule an appointment today at 905-560-2714 or contact us online for general questions about dentures, dental implants and child dentistry in Hamilton.