We are all well aware of the importance of a beautiful smile. The state of our teeth can betray a host of underlying health issues and bad habits. Striving for a dazzling set of pearly whites is far from simply superficial.
A striking smile can make all the difference to the quality of our lives. One study, conducted by scientists at Manchester’s School of Dentistry, found that those with a ‘perfect smile’ were much happier and far less stressed, than those who were insecure about their teeth.
While we all know that certain foods and drinks negatively impact our dental hygiene, there are certain behaviours that are seemingly innocuous but are actually seriously harming to your teeth. Here is a selection of these day-to-day activities that you may be guilty of and should avoid if you would like to achieve and maintain that glamourous Hollywood grin.
Chewing on Ice
This goes for any solid object, but people often chew on ice after a drink, completely unaware that they are doing their teeth damage. It may seem innocent enough, but biting down on ice is simply not something that our teeth were designed to do. Most dental experts would advise you against this behaviour.
While you’re working on cutting out this bad habit, apply the same logic to anything solid, including your pencil, the arm of your glasses or your nails. Gnashing down on these items can cause breaks, cracks and grooves in your teeth. Additionally, foreign objects such as pencils may introduce germs into your mouth, which could easily infect your gums.
Misusing your Teeth as Tools
People often fall into the trap of taking their teeth for granted. They’re tough and durable, and as such we often think that they are capable of anything. They’re sometimes substituted for scissors, knives and even can openers on occasion.
On a daily basis, people might use their teeth to rip tape or to bite off a piece of thread. Though it might not feel like it’s doing your mouth any damage, this behaviour can lead to micro-cracks that, over time, can lead to serious dental issues. Do yourself a favour and limit the use of your teeth to chewing, talking and smiling.
Brushing too Hard
Thorough brushing twice a day is the best way to maintain a bright, white smile. However, in an attempt to get gleaming teeth, a lot of people overdo the brushing and end up wearing down the enamel. This is something your dentist should make you aware of, as it can lead to sensitive teeth, which can prove uncomfortable and even painful.
Brushing too hard can even irritate your gum and break your teeth. While we think of the plaque on our teeth as being resilient, it is actually removed easily enough with gentle strokes of the toothbrush. Refrain from vigorous brushing and opt for a medium-bristled toothbrush. This will be softer and kinder to your teeth, giving you optimal results.
Using Mouthwash Without Floss
In an attempt to rid yourself of foul-smelling breath, you might simply reach for the mouthwash to kill any germs that are lurking in the depths of your mouth. However, mouthwash alone will do nothing to eradicate the cause of your bad breath, just masks it for a short time. The bacteria that cause unfortunate breath lurk below the gums and between the teeth, so the only way to rid yourself of them is to floss daily.
Grinding and Clenching
Some of us clench our teeth unconsciously when we’re stressed or concerned. Some of us grind our teeth in our sleep. Whatever the case, clenching and grinding places a lot of pressure on teeth and the jaw, which causes fractures in your teeth and clicking in your jaw. These weakened areas are at risk of future damage.
In order to maintain the strength of your jaw and teeth, make a conscious effort to stamp down on this behaviour in your waking hours. For those who are guilty of nighttime grinding, approach your dentist about a custom mouth guard to use when you sleep. This will save you a lot of time and money in the long run.