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Avoiding Bad Habits That Can Harm Your Teeth

2019 November 5
by admin

Seemingly innocuous things in our day-to-day lives that can damage our teeth.

Hopefully, with the professional advice given by both dentists and hygienists at Alexandra Dental Care, most of our Ashby and Burton patients are aware not only of the importance of a healthy mouth, but also how to maintain it. Professional dental supervision combined with diligent care at home means that you have a good chance of retaining your natural teeth well into your later years.

Even with the best advice and good cleaning habits, there are still plenty of potential pitfalls for our teeth. Some of these may be out of our control, such as an accident, but others may be the consequence of some habits that we have and may have carried out for many years without thinking about the potential consequences. We take a look at a few  of the more common ones below.

Breaking sellotape

How many of us have used our teeth for this? Probably most of us at some point in our lives. Once we have fiddled about trying to find the end of the sellotape, we usually just want to snap it off to the required length. The logical way to do this would be to use scissors, but when we have the sellotape waiting and stuck to our fingers we are unlikely to look for scissors unless we have thought about this in advance. What then is the most available ‘tool’? Yes, our teeth.

Unfortunately, as teeth collide as they slip off the tape, the impact can cause them to chip or crack, weakening the enamel. This means that they are then less well protected from future damage and may even break in time.

An easy way to avoid the temptation to use our teeth for this is to buy the sellotape on a holder that has a cutting edge so that we can break it off easily. Failing that, make sure that you have scissors ready in advance.

Habits caused by stress

We know from previous blogs that one of the most harmful habits for our teeth that is caused by stress is bruxism, or teeth grinding. This can cause our teeth to crack or even break and can cause serious damage. Unfortunately, this can be a difficult habit to break as it often happens during sleep. It is worth looking at how you can manage your stress though, whether this means facing what is causing it or coping with it using relaxation or other methods.

Some other habits which may be stress related happen when we are wide awake, and, with a bit of self discipline and self awareness, we can probably stop. Two of the most common of these are the biting of fingernails and pens or pencils.

Besides not being a very accurate way to trim our nails, biting fingernails can cause damage in a similar way to when we break off sellotape. The constant collision of enamel on enamel means that wear and tear and possibly breakages are likely. The same applies when you chew pens or pencils, and chewing objects like this can also lead to broken or worn teeth. Patients with dental veneers should be especially wary of this habit. Although veneers are attached very securely, this type of unnatural force could, potentially, cause them to become detached from the teeth.


Thankfully, most bottle tops are now screwed on although some of these can be tricky to start to open. If they are, please do remember that your teeth are not designed to be used as a vice and should not, under any circumstances, be used to open a difficult screw top on a bottle!

It should go without saying, although it is always worth repeating, that you should never try to remove a standard bottle top with your teeth. There are so many things that can go badly wrong when you do this. The excessive force used means that the risk of a tooth breaking is very high. It could get even worse than this though if the bottle breaks. Deep cuts and lacerations are very possible and, with your eyes being so close to the mouth, there is also a potential risk to your eyesight. So please don’t do this!

We hope that all of our patients from Ashby and Burton are wise enough to take heed of the advice above, but if you do find that you damage a tooth, we are here to help. Appointments for any type of tooth damage should be made as soon as possible, whether it is causing pain or not. You can make an appointment at Alexandra Dental Care by calling our friendly team on 01283 216347.

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