If you remember one single thing from all of this, it’s that teeth are for eating and nothing else. Don’t use them as a tool to accomplish other tasks.
Chewing ice – Your teeth are extremely tough but aren’t meant to stand up to constant wear and tear from crunching into hard things. Over time you’ll develop cracks in your enamel that will progress to broken teeth. I saw an 18 year old patient the other day who had cracked a back molar (no previous fillings) just from her ice chewing habit.
Chewing your nails – This causes wear especially on your front teeth. It can also lead to jaw pain due to constantly pushing your front jaw forward to chew on your nails.
Opening bottlecaps – I’ve seen a ton of injuries from people opening bottles with their teeth. The most common injury from this one is chipping off a corner of one of your front teeth.
Brushing too hard – Brushing too hard can wear away both your gum tissue as well as your teeth. Use a soft bristled toothbrush and brush gently.
Resting a pencil or any other object (like hairpins, etc) in between your teeth. – This will either move your teeth or wear them down. Either way is bad.
Aggressive toothpick use – Toothpicks can be really damaging to health of your gums around your teeth. When the gums recede, the bones recede as well.
Tongue piercings – These are super damaging to your teeth.
Sucking on cough drops, mints, or lozenges that have been sweetened with sugar – This is a recipe for getting cavities. I’ve had plenty of patients who tell me they have a great diet, but find out they have a ton of cavities just from this.
Smoking – OK so this is more of a long term one, but it’ll still kill your teeth. Smoking increases your risk of gum disease, the #1 reason why people lose teeth.
Foods and Drinks:
Soda of any kind – The sugar and acid combo in sodas cause cavities to develop rapidly. Avoid drinking them on any regular basis. I believe soda is the single biggest reason I have a job as a dentist.
Sports beverages – You may think these are healthier or better for you but for the most part, they’re really not. Drink water instead.
Sucking on lemons or other citrus fruits – Just like with soda, the acid and sugar is a tooth killer.
Popcorn kernels – Popcorn is great right up until that moment you crunch down on a kernel and break your tooth.
Hard nuts – Some of the softer nuts aren’t a problem, but consistently eating hard nuts can certainly do damage to your teeth especially if you’ve had large fillings on your teeth in the past.
Frozen vegetables or fruits – Just as bad as chewing ice. Blend them up in a smoothie instead.