Improving Your Oral Hygiene: Habits to Avoid for a Healthier Smile


Improving Your Oral Hygiene: Habits to Avoid for a Healthier Smile

Everyone will pick up a bad habit or two in their lifetime; it’s natural. These habits may be a coping mechanism or the result of past experiences, and they can be anything from impulse spending to nail-biting. The habits themselves are not always bad for your health, but sometimes they can be extremely damaging. When they begin to affect your health, you need to take action. Your mouth is important, you use it every day, and when these habits begin to affect your smile, it can be costly to your health, wallet, and confidence. Let’s explore.  


This is probably obvious, smoking is bad for your health and teeth, but it is also a notoriously difficult habit to break. After all, cigarettes are addictive. Around ten percent of Australians smoke cigarettes. This habit often leads to discolouration of the teeth, bad breath, gum disease and inflammation of the gums and salivary glands. Quitting for good is one of the best things you can do for your oral health and overall health. However, it won’t be easy; there are several methods that you can use to quit, from patches to lozenges to gum. You will also need a good solid support system in place to help you quit; you will struggle to do so alone.

Sucking Your Thumb

Children most often exhibit this habit, but it can and does continue into adulthood. Those who have been sucking their thumb for some time will probably find that they have misaligned or crooked teeth. This is because sucking your thumb can deform the roof of the mouth and force the teeth out over time to accommodate the habit. Thumb sucking is usually a form of self-soothing; it is the result of anxiety and stress. If you or your children suck your thumb, then it may be worth seeking out a therapist or a counsellor to help you to get to the root of it. This can help you identify and address triggers and implement better practices to deal with them instead of resorting to sucking your thumb.

Flossing Incorrectly

It is often recommended that people floss at least once a day; however, it turns out that many people don’t know how to floss correctly. Not flossing properly can put you at risk of teeth and gum problems. It would help if you used a clean bit of floss between each tooth; reusing dirty floss can transplant bacteria instead of cleaning it away. Be gentle. Try to avoid snapping or popping the floss and follow the contours of the teeth. You can find tutorials online or even ask your dentist or pediatric dentist at your next check-up for advice. 

Not Brushing Properly

Brushing twice a day is a must to maintain your oral health. However, brushing too hard or too gently can be harmful. Brushing too hard can irritate your gums, causing them to recede, or it can erode the enamel. Brushing too gently is ineffective, and it can let harmful bacteria build-up. Take a look at your toothbrush, some deformity in the bristles is to be expected, but if they are played outward or worn down, then you are probably brushing too hard. Brushing your teeth should not be painful nor cause redness or inflammation. If you brush too hard, you could try a soft-bristled toothbrush to minimize damage. 

Giving up Chewing Gum

While it is true that sugary bubble gum is bad for your teeth, the sugarless variety can help to improve your oral health. Saliva is important for your oral health; it is one of the best natural defences against cavities. Chewing gum can help to increase saliva production and therefore protect your teeth. In addition, you should look for chewing gum with xylitol, which is a natural plant-based sweetener that can prevent bacteria from sticking to your teeth. 

Not Visiting the Dentist Regularly

Life is busy, and it is not always easy to find the time to attend appointments. Many people fall into the trap of putting off going to the dentist until there is an issue that needs seeing too. Sometimes skipping dental check-ups comes down to fear or financial considerations. Visiting the dentist regularly is paramount to your oral health. They can spot issues early before they get too painful or expensive to fix. Dental check-ups keep your smile healthy it’s as simple as that. Finding the right dentist is important for this; you need to feel safe and comfortable.  When checking online, you can search for All on 4 dental implants near me to find a dentist not only good at cleaning but also restoring damaged teeth. Those in Brisbane should check out Pure Dentistry. Their team of dentists is highly qualified, and they have a range of specialisms. This guarantees the best care for your oral health and any emerging issues.

 Chewing Ice 

Many people are guilty of chewing on an ice cube, especially on a hot day, but your teeth are not designed for it. Doing it often is not terrible for the teeth, but when it becomes habitual, the dangers creep in. You run the risk of cracks and chips. Both teeth and ice are crystals, so when they are forced together, it causes damage. Try to drink your iced beverages through a straw to avoid temptation.

Grinding or Clenching Your Teeth

This habit can most commonly be found in people who suffer from anxiety or stress disorders. Often it is an unconscious behaviour; most people are unaware that they are doing it. However, it can be incredibly damaging. It can erode the enamel on the teeth, which leaves them more vulnerable to decay. It can cause jaw pain or discomfort, and in extreme cases, it can even lead to lockjaw or cracked and chipped teeth. Because this behaviour is often unconscious, it can be hard to stop. If you often find yourself clenching or grinding your teeth, you may want to look up some meditation techniques or stress relievers. Some people also benefit from a mouthguard. 

Biting Your Nails

This is another habit that is closely linked to anxiety. If you bite your nails a lot, your oral health will likely suffer and sometimes your health in general. Think about it; there is a lot of bacteria on your hands and under your nails. This bacteria is then transferred to the mouth when you bite your nails. Nail-biting can also lead to cracked, fractured, or chipped teeth, and it may cause damage to your jaw over time. You can try bitter-tasting nail varnishes to put you off or try to keep your nails too short of biting. Some people also look for anxiety treatments to address the cause of the nail-biting. 

Using Your Teeth as Tools

Almost everyone is guilty of this on occasion. You use your teeth to rip open a package, open containers, rip off tags and even open bottle caps. However, in doing this, all of the work you have done to look after your teeth becomes pointless. Stopping this habit is by far one of the best ways to prevent chips and cracks which leave your teeth more vulnerable to teeth decay

In Conclusion

Essentially you should try to use your teeth for what they are for and nothing else. Some of the above habits might seem as though they are bad for your teeth, but many people don’t consider this when they pick up these habits. Fixing the damage done can be costly and time-consuming, which is why preventative measures are so important.

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