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We understand that flossing, brushing, and regular dentist visits are the pillars of good dental hygiene, but knowing them and practicing them are two different things. According to the Center For Disease Control and Prevention, almost 50 percent of people above 30 have signs of gum disease, and 26 percent of adults have untreated cavities.

It’s not uncommon to have problems with your gums or teeth, and dentists say certain lifestyle factors may be the reason behind some of your oral health problems. In fact, common behaviors can negate the benefits of good oral hygiene, and we’re all guilty of some of them. Here are some behaviors and habits that dentists advise against and would never, ever do.

They wouldn't chew ice.

For Dr. Natalie Peterson, a clinical associate professor of dentistry at the University of Minnesota, the first bad habit that came to mind was chewing ice. She said a lot of people don’t think about it, but they chew on the ice in their drink, and they don’t consider the damage it can do to their teeth. Ice can break your teeth because it’s hard, but it’s also cold. Dr. Peterson said that chewing ice can be particularly damaging for people with fillings, and the thought of chewing on ice gives her the shivers.

They wouldn't bite their nails.

Biting your nails can also lead to dental problems. Plus, nail biting is usually a habit, meaning your teeth have to deal with this action repeatedly. As you bite your nails, you wear down the enamel on the edges of your teeth, and enamel plays a vital role. It helps protect your teeth from erosion, cavities, infection and sensitivity to hot, cold or sweet foods.

They wouldn't open bottles or bags with their teeth.

Using your teeth to open a bottle of water or a bag of chips might seem harmless, but dentists say it’s not. Dr. Jarrett Manning, a cosmetic and implant dentist, says that while teeth are durable and strong, but they’re not meant to tear apart packages, chew on hard objects, or open bottle tops. It puts unnecessary stress on your teeth, and using your teeth in this manner can lead to broken or cracked teeth, pain, root canals or even teeth that need extracting.

They wouldn't eat sticky candy.

Sticky candies like gummy bears, worms, and peach rings are all candies that dentists avoid. Why? Because they can get stuck in the grooves on your teeth and between your teeth, which can cause cavities and pop out fillings. Aside from gummy candy, dentists say they also avoid sour gummies as they’re the trifecta of bad. They are sugary, sticky and really acidic, which is why they taste sour.

They wouldn't drink alcohol excessively.

It’s known that drinking excessive amounts of alcohol isn’t good for your cancer risk, liver health, or sleep quality, but it can also be bad for your teeth too. Alcohol leads to dry mouth and decreased saliva production. Because saliva’s role is to help cleanse the mouth, neutralize acids, and protect teeth, a decrease in saliva can increase your risk of getting cavities.

They wouldn't use hard bristle toothbrushes.

Dr. Peterson said she recommends soft bristle toothbrushes for numerous reasons. Medium and hard bristle toothbrushes can be abrasive on your gums, causing more recession, and it’s tough to fix recession once it’s happened. Also, toothbrushes with medium or stiff bristles can be generally abrasive to your teeth.

They wouldn't smoke.

Not only can smoking lead to adverse health problems, but it can cause tooth discoloration, several oral problems, and, in extreme cases, oral cancer. Smoking is a challenging habit to quit, but there are resources available to help you achieve this goal. If you don’t smoke, for the sake of your oral health and beyond, don’t start.

They wouldn't skip their daily dental routine.

This is likely not a surprise, but dentists say that skipping flossing and brushing is a big no-no. Brushing and flossing daily are the key to fighting gum disease. Additionally, it’s critical to brush your teeth at night, and you should never go to bed without brushing them. You can spend an entire day without brushing, but if you don’t brush before going to bed, that’s the worst thing you can do to your mouth. Going to sleep with a clean mouth can keep bacteria from growing overnight.

They wouldn't avoid regular dentist visits.

It’s best never to ignore your regular dental checkups. Routine dental visits are vital for maintaining oral health and catching dental problems early. In terms of how often you should visit your dentist for checkups, it depends on your dental history and other problems. Regular checkups for patients should be tailored for each patient, their risk factors, and overall dental health. Some people may only need to go once a year, and might be pretty healthy. For most people, twice a year is a good idea, and some people have risk factors or dental issues that might make them have to come in three to four times a year. Talk to your dental hygienist or dentist to figure out what the best frequency is for you.

Vising the dentist may be scary for some people, but it’s a necessary part of taking care of yourself. Most of these habits are things that some people do every day. However, after reading this list, let’s hope you stop participating in these activities and invest more in your dental health.

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