Dental care

6 Bad habits that can harm your teeth, and how to break them

6 Bad habits that can harm your teeth, and how to break them
Published : October 22 , 2019
Latest Update : September 25 , 2023
Dr. Diala Ghalayini is a Conservative (Restorative) Dentistry Specialist, who holds the Jordanian Board in Conservative Dentistry, and the Membership of the... more

Sometimes brushing your teeth or your baby's teeth is not enough to avoid dental problems. There are a range of bad habits that we do without realizing how much damage they can cause to our dental health.

Your child might get used to one of these habits at early age, making it somehow difficult for him to quit, so pay attention to your child from the beginning and keep an eye on him to avoid any possible dental problems.  

Those habits include:

1. Brushing too hard

A Kid brushing his teeth

Brushing your teeth twice daily for 3 minutes, is a healthy habit, but it turns into a bad habit when you’re brushing too hard or using a hard toothbrush or even an abrasive toothpaste. This can damage your teeth and irritate your gums.

How to break it:

don’t think scrub, use a soft toothbrush, avoid abrasive toothpastes or other materials advertised over the internet. Some new models of electronic toothbrushes have pressure sensors that alert you when you press too hard on the brush.

2. Grinding and clenching your teeth

a kid wearing a mouth guard to protect his teeth

This is also a nervous habit, it causes chipping and cracking of teeth, it also causes muscle spasm and jaw dysfunction which leads to headaches and joint pain during chewing or mouth opening. Over a long period of time, tooth surface loss can be noticed.

How to break it:

you should consult your dentist, so you would find the cause and treat it. A mouthguard can be constructed by the dentist.

3. Chewing ice cubes

a kid eating Ice

Ice cubes are hard and cold, chewing on them causes chipping in enamel, or fillings. If that didn’t happen, thermal changes and hardness of ice cubes can cause cracks in tooth structure that might fracture.

How to break it:

drink beverages without ice, or use a straw.

4. Nail biting

a kid biting his nails

It’s a nervous habit, that can chip teeth and impact your jaw. Placing the jaw in a protruding position and placing pressure on it can cause jaw dysfunction.

How to break it:

use bitter nail polish. Stress reduction methods and distraction, trying to control it by trying to keep your fingers busy.

5. Snacking

a girl eating a cake from the refrigerator directly

Constant snacking especially on sugary foods and drinks puts you on a higher risk for caries and cavities.

How to break it:

eat a balanced meal to feel fuller, low on fat and sugar. Follow your snack with a glass of water or if you can brush your teeth or even chew sugar-free gum to decrease the risk of caries and get rid of food leftovers from in between your teeth.

6. Using your teeth instead of tools

a girl using her teeth to open a drink

Your teeth were not meant to be used as tools to open stuff or break things. That would cause them to break or chip.

How to break it:

don’t use your teeth, use the right tool for the right job.

These are some of the most important habits that affect our teeth badly. So take care of your teeth, and always follow good and healthy habits to avoid any possible dental problems.


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