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7 Bad Habits That Will Harm Your Teeth

10 December 2021

Categories: Dental Care
Christmas Dental Habits

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! December is a special month for everyone as a new year is just around the corner and Christmas celebrations are aplenty.

As you gather with your family and friends, you’re probably busy with a long to-do list such as wrapping presents, preparing food and decorating your home, to name a few. Suffice to say, preventing tooth injuries is probably the last thing you have on your mind.

A cracked or broken tooth can happen anytime including when you’re having fun. We’re sure you wouldn’t want to be rushing to the dentist in the midst of a celebration, all due to a dental emergency that could have been avoided. To help you make the best out of your festive month, we’ve listed 7 bad habits that will harm your teeth (possibly also causing a dental emergency) and more importantly, how to break these habits!

#1 Icy night

Now, this is definitely a habit Frosty will not approve of. There is no doubt that some drinks are better enjoyed cold. For instance, we can’t imagine a Gin & Tonic without ice.

It’s the holidays and we understand that it’s all about having fun. So, feel free to enjoy your favourite drink on the rocks but if you’ve the tendency to chew on ice cubes absentmindedly, you’ll want to be precautious. The force from doing so can damage your tooth’s enamel, making it vulnerable to tooth decay and you could end up with a broken tooth or filling.

Break the habit: A good way to enjoy your drink without harming your teeth is to drink with a straw. Unlike sipping directly from the glass, this reduces the temptation to chew on ice cubes and ultimately, preserve the health of your teeth.

#2 No handy dandy teeth

Are you guilty of using your teeth to do more than just breaking down food? You might think of it as harmless when you use it to open the packaging of your Christmas present, beer bottle caps or even as a tool to crack the crab shells as you enjoy your aunt’s famous chilli crab dish. The truth is, misusing your teeth is more harmful than helpful. You could damage your teeth by doing so such as causing it to chip or break.

Break the habit: Let’s state the obvious, appropriate tools are invented for a very good reason – to help you effectively do the job without causing any harm. So, do use them when needed, and your teeth as well as your holiday spirit will thank you.

#3 Be merry & smile brightly

The holly jolly festive celebrations are all about smiles! As you meet up with your friends and family, exchanging smiles are going to be inevitable and you would definitely want to make a good impression. If you’ve been brushing your teeth with hard strokes in an attempt to have a brighter smile, you might want turn it down a notch. Brushing too hard can damage your teeth and irritate your gums.

Break the habit: Instead of thinking of it as brushing or ‘scrubbing’ your teeth with a toothbrush, it’s best to think of it as massaging your pearly whites. Here’s how to do it right – Brush your teeth for at least 2 minutes, twice daily and don’t forget to brush your tongue! You should also note that a complete oral care routine includes flossing and gargling with mouthwash. Feel free to add an extra brushing or flossing session in between your day to keep dental plaque at bay. This is especially important if you’re wearing braces. For added convenience, have a travel-size toothbrush and toothpaste in your bag or purse to freshen up after your meals.

On the other hand, if you’re trying to remove stubborn stains, brushing harder will not be helpful. Instead, consider teeth whitening as a more effective option.

#4 Deck your nails

Are you feeling a little anxious to socialise with your friends after being confined at home due to the pandemic? Or perhaps the thought of relatives asking for the millionth time if you’re getting married anytime soon is making you nervous about the upcoming family gathering?

Anxiety and nervousness can cause nail biting, an unhealthy habit that can affect your health, including the health of your teeth. This habit can cause your teeth to chip or damage your tooth’s enamel. The germs from your nails can also lead to gum infections, therefore leading to bad breath.

Break the habit: A temporary solution to nail biting would be to paint your nails with nail polish or to hold onto something when you’re feeling nervous. However, for a more long-term effect, you will want to identify situations that trigger these habits and learn to manage them.

#5 12 days of wine and more

Drinks that are often served at year-end parties such as fizzy drinks and wine can harm your teeth. The former for instance, is sugar-laden and acidic, which will increase your risk of tooth decay. Wine on the other hand, can cause teeth discolouration and staining.

Of course, these drinks make the festivities merrier and not to worry, drinking a glass or two responsibly with some added precautions could reduce harm to your teeth while you celebrate this December.

Break the habit: Wash away food particles and bacteria in your mouth by drinking plain water regularly. This helps to reduce your risk of tooth decay. Choosing plain water over any other type of flavoured drink is a good way to reduce your sugar intake too. Plus, where possible, do use a straw to protect your teeth this festive season.

#6 O come all ye sweet tooth

Candy canes, marshmallows, chocolate fountain, meringues and the list of festive sugary treats goes on…

You may ask, what are the festivities without a sweet touch?

If you’ve a sweet tooth and usually the first at the dessert bar, we’ve some news to break to you. As you might already know, sugar is bad for your teeth. It is a direct cause of tooth decay as sugary substances tend to get stuck between your teeth. This causes the buildup of bacteria and plaque. Along with that, sugar attracts bad bacteria that cause gum diseases and there’s a host of dental concerns that comes with that.

Of course, enjoying some sugary treats and practicing good dental hygiene will help to reduce the impact. Remember, the key is moderation.

Break the habit: If you’re craving something sweet, why not enjoy naturally sweet food instead, such as a fruit platter? Fruits are sweet too but the difference is that fruits such as apples and pears are fibrous and eating them helps to clean your teeth as well as increase saliva production, which help to wash away food debris.

#7 Snacking all the way

It’s not just about the type of food that you eat, your eating habits too can affect your dental health. Constant snacking increases the risk of cavities developing as your mouth is more acidic for a longer period of time.

We understand that it can be a little tough to stop snacking especially if you have a great host that keeps serving delicious food. As much as the temptation is real, perhaps you might want to try the tip below.

Break the habit: If you’ve the will to skip snacking entirely, feel free to do so. Otherwise, there are some healthier habits that you could practice. This includes eating teeth-friendly food such as cheese (rich in calcium and neutralises the acidity of your mouth, which helps to ward off bacteria) and crunchy vegetables (helps to clean your teeth while you chew). Plus, these foods can be easily found in festive spreads.

If you’re due for a dental check-up, gift yourself a holiday gift and schedule a session of dental cleaning to ensure that your teeth and gums are healthy post-holidays and ready to greet the New Year!

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