10 Common Habits That Damage Teeth

10 Common Habits That Damage Teeth

No matter how much you brush or floss your teeth, your dental health cannot thrive if you have bad habits that damage teeth. Although teeth are the most rigid structure of the human body, constant damage can cause signs of wear and tear. Hence, it is crucial to avoid these habits to maintain healthy teeth. Let’s learn about some everyday habits that damage teeth. 

Habits that Damage Teeth

Let’s discuss some of the common habits that damage teeth. 

Overzealous Brushing

Many people complain that despite vigorous brushing, they still face dental issues such as bleeding gums, bad breath, and tooth sensitivity. However, brushing aggressively can harm the outer enamel layer and lead to receding gums. 

To avoid this, the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends using flexible soft-bristled toothbrushes that adapt to your tooth anatomy without causing any damage. Additionally, if you’re unfamiliar with the appropriate brushing technique, you might push the debris further inside your gums instead of removing it.

Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)

Many people ask, is biting down on your teeth bad? It sure is. Biting down on your teeth is called bruxism. Bruxism is a habit in which people grind their teeth together during the day or at night. It causes the occlusal surfaces of the teeth to wear down, causing sensitivity, and can even cause Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) problems. 

Bruxism is usually triggered by stress and anxiety. If you notice that you have this habit, try to become more conscious of it during the day and consider using nightguards. Stress-relieving exercises have also been known to help.

Smoking and Chewing Tobacco

Tobacco, whether consumed by chewing, snuffing, or smoking, harms your teeth. These are among the significant habits that damage teeth. Apart from tooth decay and discoloration, tobacco also causes inflammation of soft tissues and even oral cancer. 

If you want to quit tobacco, talk to your dentist. They will recommend cessation programs or support groups. You may also consider Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT).

Nail Biting

Nail biting is another common habit that damages teeth. Apart from compromising nail health, it damages teeth, too. When biting your nails, you put excessive pressure on one or two teeth, which can cause them to chip or shift their position. Nail biting also causes jaw problems, causing them to protrude. Use bitter nail polishes, meditation, or stress-relieving exercises to eliminate this habit. 

Using Teeth as Tools

Teeth are meant to chew food substances, not open bottles, tear tags, or crack nuts. Using teeth as tools can crack or chip them, creating a dental emergency. If you habitually substitute tools with your teeth, stop before it’s too late. Keep small tools like scissors or bottle openers readily accessible to avoid the temptation of using your teeth. Saving a little time while risking your precious teeth is not wise. 

Chewing Ice

Chewing on ice after finishing a cold beverage is a common practice. While it may seem tempting, it is extremely harmful to your teeth. Ice is a hard substance that can crack your tooth when chewed upon. People who chew ice tend to have low iron levels in their bodies. If you chew on ice, get checked for iron deficiency and treat it. However, if you do it habitually, try not to have drinks with ice or just use a straw. 

Thumb Sucking

Thumb sucking is one of the most prominent parafunctional habits that cause orthodontic problems. If not tended to in childhood, it can result in a high arch palate, small maxillary arch, and spaced teeth. If your child sucks their thumb, put something bitter on his thumb. Some tools fit on the thumb to prevent sucking. If you notice any malalignment, consult an orthodontist. Early orthodontic care has proved beneficial in dealing with thumb sucking. 

Eating Frequently

Eating frequently can be bad for teeth. Eating repeatedly, after short intervals, provides a beneficial environment for the bacteria in your mouth to feed on the leftovers. Consuming a lot of sugary foods or a high-carb diet can also cause tooth decay and tooth loss. Kids who munch on candies have higher caries prevalence than those who don’t. 

To avoid that, dentists recommend eating three to four times a day and thoroughly cleaning your teeth. Even if you consume sugar, brushing afterward prevents bacteria from thriving.  

Chewing on Hard Surfaces

Many people ask if chewing toothpicks is bad for you. Well, it certainly is. Chewing on hard surfaces such as pens, pencils, or even toothpicks predisposes your teeth to chips and fractures. Wedging toothpicks between your teeth harms interdental papilla and can even create gaps between the teeth. Dentists recommend using floss or interdental brushes to clean between teeth.

Neglecting Oral Hygiene

Even if you do not indulge in the above habits that damage teeth but are careless about oral hygiene, your dental health cannot flourish. Here are some tips to take care of your oral health.

  • Brush twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush using the correct brushing technique. 
  • Floss once a day between the teeth and along the gumline. 
  • Use chlorhexidine mouthwashes at least once a day after brushing. 
  • Avoid consuming sugary foods.
  • Quit habits that damage teeth, such as smoking or chewing beetle nuts.
  • Get your teeth scaled twice a year.
  • Schedule regular appointments with a dentist. 


Our day-to-day habits have a great impact on our oral health. Seemingly innocent acts like chewing on ice or opening packages with teeth are among the habits that damage teeth. These habits leave a mark on your teeth, compromising their health. Prioritizing dental health by brushing and flossing, using mouthwashes, and visiting the dentist regularly leads to a beautiful smile and a healthier lifestyle. 

If you have any habits that damage teeth, contact us at Dr. Arthur Yeh & Associates. Our experts will evaluate your condition and provide solutions to any damage you might have done to your teeth. We provide all restorative solutions, including dental implants, in Montclair, NJ. So, schedule a consultation and learn more about dental implants in Montclair, NJ.