If you are brushing and flossing daily, but still experiencing dental hygiene issues, it may be time to take a look at other habits that can affect your dental health. You are probably aware of the ill effects of some of these habits, however they may be so routine that they are difficult to fix. Read below for some helpful solutions to combat some of these daily actions that can do a number on your mouth!
1. Brushing or flossing incorrectly.
Use a brush that is not too hard, as harder bristles can wear away at the gums. If you aren’t sure, ask your dental hygienist for a recommendation. Aim to brush for two minutes, hitting each quadrant (upper right, upper left, lower right, lower left) equally, and don’t forget your tongue. And don’t forget to floss! You cannot thoroughly clean your teeth without flossing (click for our helpful post, Flossing 101, for expert suggestions). If brushing thoroughly is an issue, take the guesswork out with an electric toothbrush that times you as you go. If flossing is difficult, look into a sulca brush, shower flosser, or floss threaders.
2. Using your teeth as tools.
Yikes–don’t do it! Don’t use your teeth to open packages, bottles, etc. Pay attention to where this occurs the most. Is it at your desk at work? In the car? In the kitchen? Take measures to store easy-to-find tools such as knives, scissors, or bottle openers wherever you find yourself doing this.
Enjoying a beverage slowly throughout the day can be an enjoyable habit, whether it is Vitamin Water, soda, juice, or coffee, but consuming something in slow sips throughout the day can be the worst for your teeth. Sipping gives the beverage time to coat your teeth and linger in your mouth, providing optimal conditions for bacteria and plaque to form. Use a straw to limit contact with your teeth, and try to enjoy your drink, then swish with water and better yet, brush afterwards.
4. Chewing hard objects.
Many of us do this mindlessly, but chewing on ice, popcorn kernels, and hard candies meant to be sucked can end up pulling fillings and breaking teeth. There is no simple fix for this one–just don’t do it!