Resolutions for a Healthier Mouth

6 Habits to Break this New Year

Nail Biting

The habit: This nervous habit can chip teeth and impact your jaw. Biting your nails places your jaw in a protruding position, which causes pressure and can lead to jaw dysfunction.

The solution: Bitter-tasting nail polishes, stress reduction and setting small, realistic goals can help. If certain situations are triggers, hold something to keep your fingers busy.

Brushing Too Hard

The habit: Brushing for two minutes twice a day is one of the best habits you can get into. Just make sure you’re not trying too hard. Brushing too hard and using a hard toothbrush can damage teeth and irritate gums.

The solution: Use a soft toothbrush with the ADA Seal of Acceptance. The ideal pressure is a massage – not a scrub.

Grinding and Clenching

The habit: grinding and clenching your teeth can cause chipping or cracking of the teeth, as well as muscle tenderness and joint pain

The solution: Being mindful is the best way to start. Think “relax” when you find yourself clenching.  A nighttime mouth guard can also help.

Chewing Ice Cubes

The habit: Chewing ice cubes is like rubbing 2 crystals together – one will eventually chip or break.

The solution: To avoid breaking tooth enamel, drink chilled beverages without ice, or use a straw so you’re not tempted.

Constant Snacking

The habit: Grazing all day, especially on sugary foods and drinks, puts you at a higher risk for cavities. When you eat, cavity-causing bacteria feast leftover food, producing an acid that attacks the outer shell of your teeth.

The solution: Eat balanced meals to feel fuller, longer. If you need a snack, make sure it’s low in fat and sugar. If you indulge in the occasional sugary treat, follow it with a big glass of water to wash away leftover food.

Using Your Teeth As Tools

The habit: Your teeth were made for eating, not to stand in as a pair of scissors or hold things when your hands are full. When you do this, you put yourself at a higher risk of cracking your teeth, injuring your jaw or accidentally swallowing something you shouldn’t.

The solution: Stop and find something or someone to give you a hand. Your mouth will thank you.