Five Bad Habits That Can Ruin Your Perfect Smile -- And How To Avoid Them

Posted on: 18 February 2016

If you've had cosmetic dental work done and you finally have the straight, white smile of your dreams, it's important to keep it that way. You don't want all of your money and discomfort to go down the drain and your smile to look dull and crooked again in a few years! Here's a look at five bad dental habits that may slowly revert your smile to its past state -- and some strategies to help you avoid those habits.

Bad Habit #1: Grinding and clenching your teeth.

This is a surefire way to wear down your tooth enamel, which may make your teeth appear unevenly sized and can even lead to tooth decay. If you had veneers or crowns placed on your teeth as a part of your smile improvement procedure, grinding your teeth might cause them to chip or crack.

To avoid grinding and clenching at night, ask your dentist to fit you with a mouthguard that you can wear to bed. No, the inexpensive kind at the drugstore is not a suitable substitute. These are not designed for long term wear and might actually push your teeth out of place over time. To stop grinding and clenching during the day, try to find some other way to deal with stress and worry when it arises. Playing with a little modeling clay or squeezing a stress ball works for many patients.

Bad Habit #2: Opening packages with your teeth.

When you can't get a plastic package open, do you put it to your mouth and use your teeth? This common habit can lead to chipped teeth -- especially if you have veneers or dental bonding work. Make sure you carry around a little pocket knife or even a pair of nail clippers so you always have a way to open packages without sabotaging your smile.

Bad Habit #3: Leaning your face on your hand during the day.

Sitting with your chin or cheek resting on your hand can actually push your teeth out of alignment over time. Specifically, it can push your teeth inward towards your tongue, which is certainly not attractive and can be very difficult for your dentist to correct.

You can prevent this habit by aiming for better posture. Remind yourself throughout the day to sit up with your back against the chair. When you're sitting up straight and tall, leaning on your hand is simply not a possibility.

Bad Habit #4: Sleeping on your front.

Sleeping on your stomach puts consistent, gentle pressure on the front or side of your face. This can cause the teeth to shift over time. The effects can be even worse if you place your arm under your face while you're sleeping. The hardness of your harm is harsher than your pillow.

Make a habit of sleeping on your back or your side instead of on your front. This might take a little getting used to if you are a dedicated front sleeper. Investing in some comfortable new pillows and bedding can help make the transition easier.

Bad Habit #5: Drinking dark liquids.

There's no better way to stain your teeth than to drink loads of coffee and red wine. Even if you have veneers, you need to worry about drinking these liquids. Though they are not likely to stain your veneers, they can stain the teeth next to them and beneath them, making the veneers appear more obvious.

Opt for pale-colored herbal teas rather than coffee, and reach for white wine instead of red. If you simply cannot do without these liquids, try sipping them through a straw. This way, they bypass your front teeth and are deposited on your tongue.

If you regularly engage in one or more of these habits, your perfect smile might not last as long as you'd hoped. If you sense that your teeth are moving out of alignment, or you're experiencing issues like chipped teeth and discoloration, get in touch with a cosmetic dentist, such as those at Bristol Dental Group, immediately. It is easier to fix these problems when they're in their early stages.