1. Eating dried fruit
You might think you’re getting your five a day, but dried fruit such as raisins are actually packed with sugar, which leads to tooth decay and cavities. Try to enjoy these foods in small doses, and make sure you’re brushing your teeth twice a day to make sure the sugary stuff can’t hang around between your teeth.
2. Chewing pens or pencils
Your teeth aren’t designed to chew hard objects, so biting on pens, pencils or your glasses can cause your teeth to shift, create stress fractures on the teeth and irritate your joints. Try occasionally chewing on gum instead, but don’t overdo it.
3. Drinking sugar-free fizzy drinks
Thought only sugary carbonated drinks were bad for you? Think again, because experts say when drinking even sugar-free fizzy, you’re “bathing your teeth in an acid environment.” Yikes.
4. Opening packaging with your teeth
Opening plastic packaging, getting the lids off bottles or biting that pesky clothing tag off your new dress are all harmful to your teeth and can cause cracks and chips. Your teeth aren’t tools, so rely on scissors or bottle openers to do the hard work so your teeth don’t have to.
5. Being dehydrated
Always forgetting to drink the recommended eight glasses of water a day? Having a dry mouth can harm your teeth because it reduces saliva reduction, which in turn increases your risk of cavities because saliva is responsible for diluting the acid in our food and drinks. Download an app like Waterlogged – it’ll send to remind you reminders when it’s time for a top-up!
6. Doing intense cardio
A study has found that long cardio workouts can affect your teeth. Researchers compared the oral health of endurance athletes with non-exercisers and found that the athletes were more likely to have tooth erosion, which is a gradual wearing away of enamel. And the more time they spent training per week, the greater their risk of cavities. This was found to be due to the link between dehydration and tooth decay (see above) – so make sure you keep drinking water when having mammoth exercise sessions.
7. Drinking citrus drinks
Citric drinks like grapefruit juice are packed with acid which can erode tooth enamel over time. Opt for orange juice which is less acidic, but don’t drink too much as the sugars in fruit juice can have the same affect as acid on your teeth.
8. Biting your nails
Not only is biting your nails way more unhygienic than you think, regularly biting your nails can cause your teeth to move out of place and even splinter the tooth enamel. AVOID.
9. Clenching or grinding your teeth
Do you clench or grind your teeth at night when you’re stressed? Doing so can wear the teeth down and cause micro fractures to your teeth because of the immense pressure you’re putting on them. Consider investing in a mouth guard to wear during sleep. Sexy it isn’t, but it’ll sort your teeth out.
10. Drinking fruit tea
Research has shown that certain flavours of herbal teas can cause your teeth to rot rapidly. Brands containing lemon, raspberry and blackcurrant were discovered to dissolve tooth enamel. Experts recommend sticking to fruit-free herbal teas like camomile or peppermint.
11. Brushing too hard
It’s easy to think that brushing your teeth with extra enthusiasm will make them as clean as possible, but reportedly it can actually wear down enamel, irritate your gums, make teeth extra sensitive and even cause cavities. If you’re a brute when you brush, try switching to a softer bristled tooth brush.