Dental hygiene is important. We all know that. But it can be hard to put theory into practice, particularly when you lead a busy life, or have a couple of small children, or always have to wait for the bathroom in the mornings. Life gets in the way, and without regular routines, certain things such as brushing your teeth can slip by the wayside. However if you carry on in this way, you could end up doing lasting damage to your teeth and that isn’t healthy.
There are also a number of habits picked up by many people that certainly aren’t doing your teeth any favours. Whether you engage in them on a regular basis, or you just indulge on rare occasions, they still do damage and they can really harm your teeth if you are not careful. While some are more harmful than others, all of them can be very easily done, particularly during a stressful day at work. In fact, it would not be surprising if you did all of these in one day!
We take a look at 5 bad habits you need to take a look at and try and kick off, or at least cut down on, in order to keep your teeth healthy and good looking for longer. After all, after our milk teeth have dropped off, we only get one set. We have to look after them well, or face the wrath of the dentist!
The dark colour and caffeine in coffee tends to stain your teeth and over time it can make them an awful shade of yellow. Unfortunately, many of us like to indulge in a cuppa every now and then, so it would be cruel to cut it out completely. In order to help prevent the coffee from staining your teeth, there are ‘hot straws’ you can purchase which you can use to drink your coffee. Because you are using the straw, the coffee doesn’t actually touch your teeth, helping to reduce staining and it also reduces the chances of you getting that awful coffee aftertaste regular drinkers occasionally suffer.
Another good way of combating coffee breath is to chew on some gum shortly after drinking your morning brew. You don’t have to chew it for very long, a few minutes or so, just long enough to give your mouth a minty refresher, then drink some water.
Sugar helps to add plaque, which can cause the yellowing of teeth and sour breath. If you are going to eat sugary snacks, try to chew some sugar free gum afterwards, or wash it down with a good glass of water. Hot water works really well, odd as that may sound, as it works to dislodge the sugar and kill any bacteria that remains. Try to avoid sticky or toffee like sweets and consider switching to dried fruit. You will still get your sugar intake, but it will be less sticky and less harmful residue will be left in your mouth.
Skipping out on the Brushing
There is really no excuse for this but people still find a way! Make regular teeth brushing a habit. Have a ‘tooth brushing song’ or a set of music that you always brush to, to make sure you brush for the right amount of time. Always do it before bed, no matter how tired you are. If you skip it once, it becomes easier to ignore the next day. Perseverance and persistence is essential, as it can realty stack up.
Nail Biting or Pen Chewing
Chewing, nibbling or biting on things while concentrating, nervous or working is a habit that is easily picked up and hard to drop. However nails and pen lids were not meant for teeth to bite and can chip away at your enamel over time. It does nothing but weaken your teeth, so try to avoid it. Paint your nails (clear coats are available, guys) to deter yourself, use biro pens that don’t need lids or chew gum to avoid putting things in your mouth. It can make a real difference and is a great way to improve your oral hygiene overall.
To add to the list of bad things caused by smoking; yellowing teeth and bad breath are two side effects. Try cutting down even by one or two a day if you’re not keen on stopping altogether.
Of course as with any habit, particularly long standing habits, it can be hard to stop. Habits such as coffee drinking, sugary snacks and smoking can be especially difficult as they are based on addictions and our brain thinking that we need certain substances to be able to function properly. It will be difficult, but it is possible. Drinking coffee through a straw or even cutting down your smoking by one or two cigarettes a day could help, even in a little bit. It is all about doing what you think you are capable of and not pushing yourself too much to start off with. Then gradually push a little more, then a little more, and before you know it the habit is gone completely.
If it helps, you could set up a rewards system, or see how much money you save not smoking or drinking water instead of fizzy drinks. By putting it in a monetary or numerical format, you can see how small things begin to add up and that will help you change your habits. It can be a tough decision to make, but ultimately it will do your general health – and the health of your teeth – a world of good.
Article provided by Mike James, an independent content writer working alongside a selection of companies including dentist Horsham specialist Dental Healthcare Practice, who were consulted over this post.