A Family Dentist Shares the Top 5 Bad Habits for Your Teeth

family dentist Bayside, NY

A family dentist sees firsthand how daily habits and routines can impact teeth. Good habits, like proper brushing and flossing, leave a great impression. Bad habits, on the other hand, do not.

Do not fool yourself. Your family dentist can easily spot your vices. Luckily, dentists are here to help you identify these patterns of bad behavior in order to help you do what is best for your oral health.

Five bad habits that hurt your dental health and five tips for breaking them:

1. Brushing with vigor

Too much of a good thing can truly be bad. While brushing is important, brushing too hard can damage both teeth and gums.

How to break the habit

The ADA recommends thinking of brushing as a massage for the teeth. Instead of going in with the brush and scrubbing, move gently with lighter pressure. This will keep your smile sparkly clean without sacrificing teeth and gums.

2. Non-stop snacking

Grazing has health benefits, but it is not the best for teeth. Eating constantly throughout the day means more food left in teeth. The ADA states that this food then becomes highly attractive to bacteria, which can ultimately lead to cavities. This is especially true if the snacks tend to be sugary.

How to break the habit

Try creating more balanced meals that keep hunger at bay. If you must snack, choose whole foods that are low in sugar. After snacking, give the mouth a big rinse with water to help remove any leftover bits of food.

3. Nail biting

According to the ADA, biting one’s nails can have a serious impact on oral well-being, such as chipped teeth or jaw dysfunction.

How to break the habit

There are many ways to stop a nail-biting habit. Try bitter nail polishes designed to break this specific habit, or take a look at the stressors and triggers that cause the action. Find a way to mitigate these pressures or to keep hands busy during anxious times.

4. Opening objects with the teeth

If you are looking to make your family dentist cringe, this is one way to do it. Teeth are designed for chewing food into swallowable pieces. Using teeth to open packages is an easy way to crack a tooth.

How to break the habit

If a stubborn packet or package just will not open, find scissors, a knife or even another person to help.

5. Babies having bottles in bed

A family dentist is skilled in keeping teeth and gums healthy at every stage of life, which is why many dentists frown upon giving babies or toddlers a bottle or cup right before bedtime. If the child is left with milk, juice or formula in the mouth as they fall asleep, the sugars in these beverages become a breeding ground for bacteria. This can ultimately lead to cavities at an early age.

How to break the habit

It is important to keep a child nourished, but do so with supervision. Avoid giving the bottle or cup to the child to drink alone as they fall asleep in bed.


Many everyday habits can either make our teeth shine or wreck them. It is important to identify bad habits and make changes before they cause serious damage. Talk to your family dentist about how to break those rituals before they break your teeth.

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