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5 Habits We Don’t Realize Hurt Our Teeth

Updated: Nov 2, 2020

TOOTH ENAMEL RANKS between steel and titanium on the Mohs Hardness Scale. That makes it harder than any other substance in the human body, and it also makes it harder than iron! However, it’s still fairly brittle and very vulnerable to acid erosion, and there are plenty of daily habits we might have that can put it at risk.

#1 This One’s a Nail-Biter (But You Shouldn’t Be)

If you ask most people what the harms of a nail-biting habit are, they’ll probably start with ragged, damaged fingernails, but the effects on teeth and overall oral health can be just as serious, if not more so. Tooth enamel might be harder than keratin (what fingernails are made of), which means enamel is going to win the battle, but over time, keratin will win the war.

Habitual nail-biting can erode, crack, and chip teeth. It can shift them out of proper alignment, resulting in gaps and bad bites. It could even lead to root resorption, or the breakdown of the roots of the teeth! The risk of resorption is also higher in someone with braces. At the same time, the fingernails are the dirtiest part of the hands, and all the dirt and germs under there transfers to the mouth in a nail-biting session. This can lead to gum disease.

#2 Nibbling Sugary Snacks or Sipping Drinks Like Coffee All Day

We all need an energy boost now and then, but make it a habit to quickly finish your sugary drink or treat instead of sipping or snacking on it throughout the day. Allowing sugars to sit in your mouth allows bacteria to feed which creates acid build up in your mouth which in turn erodes your teeth enamel. That's a recipe for a cavity! So bottoms up on that fruit smoothie, gobble up that candy bar, and down that coffee before your meeting. Bonus points for rinsing out your mouth with water right after. Better yet, opt for plain water or a healthy low sugar snack like almonds or fruit to boost your mood.