Break these Dental Habits

Categories: General Dentistry

break dental habitsSanta Cruz, Scotts Valley CA

It’s said that the condition of a person’s mouth and teeth is a window into his or her overall health. So it only makes sense that we should want to take great care of our teeth. But every day, many of us engage in habits — some seemingly harmless and others more obvious — that aren’t good for our teeth. Breaking these habits can significantly improve our oral health. Today, our family dentist in Santa Cruz is exploring five common dental habits that it’s time to kiss goodbye for the sake of your pearly whites.

  1. Biting nails

Many people are chronic nail biters, and if you’re one of them, we have bad news: Nail biting is a common habit that can wreak havoc on your teeth and gums. Not only does nail biting wear down tooth enamel, but it can also lead to cracks and chips in your teeth and even jaw problems. Also, our hands touch a lot in a day. Putting your fingers in your mouth to bite your nails, or for any other reason, increases the risk of transferring harmful bacteria into the mouth, potentially leading to infections or other oral health issues. To break this habit, try keeping your nails trimmed and finding alternative ways to manage stress, such as using stress balls or trying your hand at meditation.

  1. Chewing ice

Nail biting isn’t the only hard habit to break. Many of us enjoy chewing on ice, and it may seem harmless. It can actually, however, cause significant damage to teeth over time. Ice is extremely hard and can weaken tooth enamel, eventually leading to fractures and breaks in the teeth. If you have the urge to chew on something, opt for sugar-free gum or crunchy fruits and vegetables instead. Sugar-free gum — especially if it’s sweetened with xylitol — helps saliva production in your mouth. Saliva washes away acid in the mouth from the foods you’re eating and neutralizes the acids that can otherwise break down tooth enamel. Eating raw, crunchy vegetables helps dislodge foods that may be stuck between your teeth. So eating crispy fruits and vegetables like celery, carrots and apples can not only help you protect your teeth, but you’ll also benefit from the vitamins and nutrients in these foods.

  1. Using teeth as tools

Teeth are designed to chew food, not to open bottles, tear open packages or bite down on hard objects. When we use our teeth as tools, it can lead to chips, cracks or broken teeth — and even potentially tooth loss. Instead of using your teeth, keep scissors, bottle openers and other gadgets handy for tasks that require them. Your teeth will thank you!

  1. Brushing too hard

Many people assume that the harder they brush, the cleaner their teeth will be. This simply isn’t true. Regularly brushing your teeth — twice a day, once in the morning and once at night — is the cornerstone of strong oral health. But brushing too hard can be just as harmful as not brushing enough. Aggressive brushing can scratch and wear down tooth enamel, irritate gums and even cause gum recession. Instead of scrubbing vigorously, our Scotts Valley family dentist recommends using a soft-bristled toothbrush and gentle, circular motions to effectively clean your teeth. It’s the technique — not force — that counts when brushing.

  1. Neglecting dental visits

While brushing twice a day and flossing at least once daily is a strong part of your overall oral health regimen, visiting our Los Gatos family dentist twice a year is just as important. During regular checkups and cleanings, dentists and dental hygienists can detect problems early, such as cavities, tooth fractures, gum disease and oral cancer. Don’t neglect these important visits to the dentist; aim to schedule two checkups a year, even if you’re not experiencing any dental issues.


Like any other habit, breaking bad dental health habits will take time, effort and practice, but the payoff will be well worth it. By ditching harmful habits, you can protect your teeth and gums, prevent costly dental procedures and enjoy a healthier, brighter smile. Our dental team strongly encourages you to commit to prioritizing your oral health by saying goodbye to these five dental habits once and for all. If it’s time for your twice-annual dental visit, we would love to see you! Call us at Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry — (831) 824-5111 — to schedule an appointment today.