Tooth enamel is the toughest substance in the human body, yet its structure can be surprisingly delicate: because enamel has no living cells our body cannot repair it once it’s cracked or damaged. Brushing and flossing are not always enough to protect your teeth from fracture and cavities.
Sometimes it’s the everyday, unconscious habits that can affect our oral hygiene and health, and you can save yourself a lot of trouble by breaking these habits.
Biting your fingernails: Are you biting your nails as you read this? We know this one is hard to kick, but when you chew on your nails, not only do you spread bacteria from your hand to your mouth, you also wear off your enamel and chip away at your front teeth. So next time you feel like biting your nail, try to keep your hands distracted, by squeezing a rubber ball or tapping your fingers.
Using your teeth as a bottle opener: Sure, a set of teeth is essentially a tool – but only for eating. Every time you open a bottle with your teeth, you risk fracturing them. We understand that it can be convenient for a second or two, but it’s better for you to invest in a good bottle opener keyring and save yourself dental fees in the long run.
Crunching on ice: You know that blissful moment when you chew on an ice cube and the cold soothes the inside of your cheeks? The sudden contraction caused by the drastic drop in temperature can fracture your teeth. Keep a pack of sugar-free, xylitol gum handy instead. It will keep your mouth busy, while the xylitol will fight off the acids that are bad for your enamel.
Chewing on pens and pencils: Not only is this bad for your teeth, but it’s also bad for your beautiful stationery. Most of us fall into this habit when concentrating hard on a task. The damage to the teeth is not immediate, but continuous biting can lead to cracks and cavities over time.
Using a toothpick incorrectly: This tiny piece of wood can become a dangerous weapon in the wrong hands! More often than not we use toothpicks incorrectly and end up damaging our gums. Instead, use a gentle dental floss next time food gets stuck between your teeth.
With a bit of mindfulness during the day, you too can easily cut down on these habits, and enjoy healthier, more confident, smiles.
If you bite your nails, try kicking the habit. Not only does it spread bacteria from your hand to your mouth, it also wears off your tooth enamel.
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Find helpful advice on your oral health concerns in our guides created by Signal, the family dental expert