There are a number of habits that can harm
your teeth. This can be the year you break
them for good! Here's how...
1. Nail Biting
The habit: This nervous habit can chip teeth
and impact your jaw. “Placing your jaw for
long periods of time in a protruding position
can place pressure on it, which is associated
with jaw dysfunction,” says Dr. Ruchi Sahota.
The solution: Bitter-tasting nail polishes,
stress reduction and setting small, realistic
goals can help. If certain situations are
triggers, hold something to keep your fingers
2. Brushing Too Hard
The habit: Brushing for two minutes twice a
day is one of the best habits you can get into.
Just make sure you’re not trying too hard.
“Brushing with a hard toothbrush, or
brushing too hard, can damage teeth and
irritate gums,” says Dr. Matthew Messina.
The solution: Use a soft toothbrush with
the ADA Seal of Acceptance at the proper
pressure. “Don’t think ‘scrub.’ Think
‘massage,’" he says. “Save the hard
toothbrush for cleaning the grout in the
3. Grinding and Clenching
The habit: “This can cause chipping or
cracking of the teeth, as well as muscle
tenderness or joint pain,” Dr. Messina says.
“You might also feel like you can’t open your
mouth wide or chew with pain.”
The solution: “Relaxation exercises and
staying aware makes a difference,” he says.
A nighttime mouthguard can also help.
“You’ll have less tooth damage, less pain and
muscle soreness and better sleep.”
4. Chewing Ice Cubes
The habit: “Tooth enamel is a crystal. Ice
is a crystal. When you push two crystals
against each other, one will break,” Dr.
Messina says. “Most of the time it’s the ice,
but sometimes the tooth or a filling will
The solution: Drink chilled beverages
without ice, or use a straw so you're not
tempted. “The risk of chewing ice is greater
than any pleasure that comes from chewing
it,” he says. “Besides, ice is really cold!”
5. Constant Snacking
The habit: Grazing all
day, especially on sugary foods and drinks,
puts you at a higher risk for cavities. When
you eat, cavity-causing bacteria feast
leftover food, producing an acid that attacks
the outer shell of your teeth.
The solution: Eat balanced meals to feel fuller,
longer. If you need a snack, make sure it's
low in fat and sugar. If you indulge in the
occasional sugary treat, follow it with a big
glass of water to wash away leftover food
6.Using Your Teeth As Tools
The habit: Your teeth were made for eating,
not to stand in as a pair of scissors or hold
things when your hands are full. When you do
this, you put yourself at a higher risk of
cracking your teeth, injuring your jaw or
accidentally swallowing something you
The solution: Stop and find something or
someone to give you a hand. Your mouth will
From Mouth Healthy