10 Ways You’re Ruining Your Teeth

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Keeping fit and taking care of your skin are no-brainers, but we often forget that maintaining the health of your teeth and gums is just as important to your overall well-being and can add years to your life. Whether you’re guilty of brushing too aggressively or eating foods that may damage your pearly whites, we’re here to help with tips on how to get your best smile ever. Ahead, 10 bad habits you didn’t know can damage your teeth.

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Smile Care 101

While you may believe natural toothpastes do the job, non-fluoride options are actually not as beneficial. Fluoride reduces cavities and helps repair tooth decay by replacing minerals worn down by plaque. It's vital to maintaining the teeth's overall strength.

News flash: Using hard bristles and brushing aggressively from side to side does not result in a thorough cleanse. It only scratches the enamel and your delicate gums. Dentists recommend using a soft toothbrush in small circular motions at least two minutes twice a day. Don't forget to brush gently along the gumline and the back of the teeth.

Your tongue accumulates a deluge of bacteria on its surface as you eat and drink throughout the day. Thus, it's a major culprit of bad breath and disseminating germs to your teeth. Gently remove the gunk with a scraper after brushing your teeth, and complete with a mouth rinse.

One of the most important oral hygiene steps people miss is flossing teeth. Just as your dentist insists during your checkups, flossing is crucial to removing plaque and germs between the teeth that your toothbrush can't reach. It also prevents gum disease, tooth decay and cavities.

Using peroxide strips and bleaching trays that contain excessive amounts can irritate the teeth and increase sensitivity. They can also diminish its natural sheen and leave chalky blotches that are overtly white.

We've all done it—opening a bag of chips with your teeth while binging on Netflix for the third hour. Unfortunately, you risk seriously damaging your teeth this way. So, if you want to actually eat those chips, get up and find a pair of scissors.

It sounds refreshing after enjoying a cold drink, but chomping on frozen cubes leads to sensitivity and increases the likelihood of chipping or cracking a tooth.

Sugary and acidic food and drinks such as soda, chewing gum, candy, citrus fruits and alcohol can erode enamel, leading to tooth decay and cavities.

Consume coffee, tea, berries, sports drinks and tomato sauce in moderation as they can discolor your pearly whites. Use a straw when drinking and rinse your mouth with water after consumption.

Although incorporating good daily oral-hygiene habits is crucial in maintaining the health of your teeth, it's very important to also book a visit to your dentist at least once a year. (It's actually highly recommended every three to six months.) These appointments offer a deep clean to eliminate build-up and check for any diseases you're unaware of.