One of the first things we notice about other people is their smile, or lack thereof. Most of us are pretty quick to notice other people’s teeth. We like to see shiny white teeth, especially when we look in the mirror.

We all know the most important things that are required to maintain healthy teeth and gums. Brushing, flossing, mouthwash, and dental visits are all critical aspects of this. One thing that is just as important is making sure we are avoiding damaging our teeth through everyday activities.

Chewing Ice Cubes

Who doesn’t love chewing ice cubes? Unfortunately, chewing ice cubes can lead to injuries in your teeth and gums. It is not uncommon for chewing a hard substance like ice to cause your teeth to crack or break. Even if it isn’t noticeable, it leaves you open to infection.

Biting Nails

The bad habit formed in everyone’s childhood. Sometimes it is just easier to bite off that long or weirdly shaped nail than to go find clippers or a nail file. Some reasons that you shouldn’t do that are similar to why you shouldn’t chew on ice; the biting could cause injury to your teeth. There are a lot of germs under the fingernails, and if you are biting them, you are giving a direct avenue into your body for those germs. You also increase the risk of injury to your fingers with ingrown nails and infections being common in nail-biters.

Sugary Snacks and Drinks

Raise your hand if you like a nice cold soda at the movies or a bowl of ice cream for dessert. Now that everyone has their hand raised, it is important to know that these kind of snacks and beverages are incredibly bad for your teeth. They coat your mouth with sugar and a very minor form of acid, leading to tooth decay and cavities.

It is also important to realize that eating or drinking these things occasionally will not immediately do this, especially if you are practicing good oral health habits. But excessive, or even consistent consumption can easily lead to these and other dental problems.

Grinding Teeth

Many of us clench or grind our teeth when we are nervous, angry, or sleeping. Over time this can wear down and weaken teeth. It is important to consciously stop doing this when you can. If you feel your jaw start to tighten, breathe deeply and try to relax.

There are steps that can be taken to help you not grind your teeth in your sleep. This can be anything as simple as a massage or wearing a night guard. The general idea is the same, trying to get yourself relaxed so you won’t tense up.

Using Teeth as Tools

Repeat after me, my teeth are not to be used as a Swiss-army knife. Many of us use our teeth to do things like tear open a package, twist a moving part or lid, or anything else we can make them do. This is very damaging to our teeth for reasons previously mentioned. All that stress and pressure can cause injury to your teeth and mouth. It is best to avoid doing these things and getting actual tools to complete your task.

Keeping your teeth healthy is important and desirable. None of the things on this list are important enough to damage your pearly whites. By implementing good oral hygiene practices and eliminating potential problems such as this, you can have a great smile for years to come.