Guess what? When it comes to keeping your teeth healthy, sparkling, and white, you’re probably your own worst enemy.
There are so many everyday ways to ruin your own smile, often without even realizing it.
Sometimes you might even do something that you think will improve your smile, only to make it worse in the long run.
Here are five ways that you’re ruining your smile, probably without you even knowing it.
Brushing Too Hard
We learn from a young age to brush after every meal to keep our teeth clean and our smile beautiful, yet the truth is that excessively hard brushing can do more harm than good.
When combined with a whitening toothpaste, this can lead to double trouble – abrasive agents in the toothpaste, combined with too much force, can wear down enamel and even cause your gums to bleed and recede!
Best bet for avoiding smile damage from brushing too hard?
Ease off on how vigorous you are. Switch to an electric toothbrush and let the brush itself do the work, and ask your dentist which whitening toothpaste is best for your own teeth.
If an electric toothbrush is not for you, you can click here to see Dr.Bach, who recommends picking a toothbrush with soft bristles to avoid damage to the gums.
Drinking… Pretty Much Anything
Whether you enjoy a glass of wine in the evening, a cup of tea or coffee in the morning, or a bottle of soda with lunch, everything you’re drinking is contributing to damaging your smile.
Dark-colored liquids can and do seep into micro-fractures in the enamel of your teeth, resulting in telltale darkening over time.
Sweetened soft drinks are even worse, as they also leave your teeth covered in a film of bacteria-loving sugar that can cause cavities and that alters the pH balance of your mouth.
So what’s a beverage lover to do? Sticking to water is always safe, and cutting soft drinks out of your diet has a myriad of health benefits besides just helping to keep your smile in good shape.
Coffee and wine are obviously harder to give up, but drinking in moderation – and brushing afterward – are good ways to minimize the damage these drinks cause.
Tongue Rings and Lip Piercings
Body modification is in right now, and has been for a while – there’s nothing wrong with getting a tongue ring or a pierced lip.
The problem is that if they’re left in for significant amounts of time – months and/or years – they can cause excessive wear to the inside of your lip, your gums, and your teeth.
Tongue rings or barbells can especially wreak havoc with your smile, sometimes even cracking or breaking teeth altogether from countless, seemingly harmless strikes against the back of a tooth.
The best way to avoid damaging your smile from piercings is to not get any at all.
Of course, if you already have one it’s still not too late – simply taking it out and letting the piercing heal ensures you won’t inadvertently do any more damage to your teeth and gums in the future.
Smoking and Vaping
This one’s a no-brainer – everyone knows smoking is bad for your health in general, including your smile.
Smoking cigarettes stains your teeth, gives you terribly bad breath, and exposes you to all sorts of health risks, from oral and lung cancers, emphysema, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), and so on.
Vaping is often seen as safer, but there are studies beginning to emerge that point to the liquids used in electronic cigarettes can damage your gums and teeth as well.
If you’re not a smoker, don’t start. If you do smoke, for goodness sake quit.
There are so many smoking cessation aids out there – patches, gums, even prescription oral medication – that can help you get the monkey off your back. Do it today and your smile will thank you.
Using Your Teeth For Anything Besides Chewing
Bite your nails? Grit your teeth or grind them when you’re angry? Use your teeth to open bottles or get out particularly badly knotted shoelaces?
You’re doing some serious damage to your smile.
Putting things into your mouth that don’t belong there can help introduce harmful bacteria to your teeth and gums, not to mention increasing the possibility that you’ll chip a tooth or create micro-fractures that can lead to complications down the road.
Nail-biting is a bad habit, but you can break it. So is using your teeth as a bottle-opener or other practices.
Tooth grinding can be difficult to stop, especially since it can be an unconscious stress response, but there are solutions – like wearing a mouthguard at night to prevent damage.
A Nice, Healthy Smile
Pretty much everything you do every day has the possibility of doing some harm to that smile of yours.
If you have more questions, pay a visit to your favorite dentist to learn ways to protect your pearly whites – and how to keep them that way!