10 Terrible Habits that Hurt Your Teeth

At East Portland Dentistry, Drs. Arend place her patient’s oral health as their number one priority. That’s why she offers a wide range of preventative dental services designed to help protect your teeth and gums for a lifetime.

While maintaining strong teeth and healthy gums means brushing and flossing daily, it also means cutting down on bad habits that can inadvertently damage your oral health. Here are 10 common habits that that can seriously damage the health of your teeth and gums.

Chewing on Ice

Even though chewing on ice may seem perfectly harmless, munching on a few hard, frozen cubes could chip or possibly crack a tooth. Regularly chewing on ice could also irritate the soft tissue inside of your teeth, which could lead to frequent toothaches. Individuals who suffer from sensitive teeth may experience sharp, shooting pains or lingering toothaches whenever they eat or drink hot or cold items. So the next time you feel like mindlessly chomping on some ice, switch to a piece of sugar free gum instead.

Night Feedings

To ensure a child enjoys a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums, parents must start taking steps to protect their child’s oral health at a young age. Laying your child down with a bottle at bedtime might seem like a good way to get him to sleep, but you’re also placing his baby teeth at risk of decay. Whenever a child feeds on sugary liquids like juice, formula, or milk, the plaque in his mouth begins to produce acids that can lead to tooth decay. Babies used to going to sleep each night with a bottle in their mouths allow their teeth to remain exposed to these types of sugary liquids throughout the night. Eventually this can lead to a condition known as Baby Bottle Tooth Decay, which may require the removal of severely decayed teeth.


When considering whether to pierce either your tongue or lip, you should consider the potential damage the piercing could cause your teeth and gums. Inadvertently biting down on a metal stud can crack a tooth, and constantly rubbing a stud across your gum line could lead to gum damage and tooth loss. Your mouth contains a wide variety of bacteria, so having a piercing also increases your risk of developing infections and sores.

Teeth Grinding

Technically referred to as bruxism, frequently grinding, whether due to stress or poor sleeping habits, can slowly wear down the health of your teeth. Bruxism can be difficult to control because the habit largely occurs unconsciously. Trying to avoid eating hard foods can help to easy the pain normally associated with this habit, and wearing a mouth guard while sleeping can help prevent grinding at night. If you have a problem grinding your teeth, talk with Dr. Arend about potential treatment options.

Cough Drops

Now that cold and flu season has arrived, many people start taking lozenges to help deal with any nagging coughs or sniffles. However, just because cough drops help easy your cold symptoms doesn’t mean they’re healthy for you. Most brands of cough drops contain high levels of sugar. So if you find yourself frequently using cough drops or other types of lozenges, make sure to brush well. Sugar, whether from medicine or candy, can cause tooth decay.

Sticky Candy

As we just mentioned, all sugary substances can lead to tooth decay. However, certain types of candy have the potential of causing more damage than others. Sticky candy, such as gummy bears, caramel, and taffy, stick to your teeth, and remain in contact with enamel for long periods of time. This allows enamel-damaging acids to also remain in place for several hours until you finally brush away the remaining bits of candy.

Drinking too Much Soda

A bottle of non-diet soda can contain around 11 teaspoons of sugar per serving. Soda also contains citric and phosphoric acids, which destroys your teeth’s enamel. While diet sodas may lower the amount of sugar you consume, they often contain more acids. Limiting the number of sodas you drink a day, and brushing after each soda you drink can help to prevent damage.

Instant Opener

Can’t get a bag of chips open? Or maybe opening a packet of aspirin seems to elude your best efforts. In these instances, the temptation to tear these packages open with your teeth can seem hard to resist. But using your teeth to open items can cause them to chip or crack, so consider keeping a pair of scissors nearby instead.

Nervous Habits

Anytime you bite down on a hard, non-food object, you risk damaging your teeth. Individuals that have such nervous habits as chewing on pencils, biting their nails, or tapping a pen against their teeth, risk inadvertently cracking or chipping a tooth. Just like with ice cubes, you’re better off chewing on a piece of sugar free gum instead.


In addition to the wide range of health concerns associated with smoking, the regular use of any tobacco product can lead to stained teeth, and tooth loss due to gum disease. The use of tobacco products will also increase your risk of a developing several types of oral cancer.


Looking for the best dentist portland Oregon has?  Please contact us today to get started on a treatment plan to keep you smile healthy and bright!

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