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Oral Health Habits We Can Do Without

May 15, 2024
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Our teeth and gums are directly connected to our general health, and poor oral hygiene can lead to more severe health issues in the future. Therefore, it is essential to take care of our teeth and gums to prevent any serious health problems. It is essential to be mindful of our oral health habits and to take proactive steps to ensure we are taking care of our teeth and gums properly.

Many of us may not even realize that certain every day habits can have a negative impact on our oral health. From skipping regular dental check-ups to forgetting routine teeth cleaning, there are several common habits that can contribute to poor dental health. By being aware of these habits and consciously trying to avoid them, we can significantly improve our oral health and prevent potential dental problems in the future. (Source: Colgate, 11 Habits That Damage Teeth, Medically Reviewed By Colgate Global Scientific Communications, January 9, 2023, https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/threats-to-dental-health/11-habits-that-damage-teeth).

Brushing Too Hard

“Vigorous brushing may seem like it leads to cleaner teeth, but it can actually cause more harm than good. Overly aggressive brushing can wear down the enamel and the outer protective layer of the teeth and irritate the gums, potentially leading to gum recession. At Ashraf Dentistry, our team recommends using a soft-bristled toothbrush and employing gentle, circular motions to clean teeth effectively without causing damage.”

Biting Your Nails

“Nail biting is not only unhygienic but also damaging to both the teeth and jaw. This habit can lead to teeth chipping or breaking and may even affect your jaw position, potentially leading to TMJ disorders. At Ashraf Dentistry, we suggest using bitter-tasting nail polishes or engaging in stress-reduction techniques to help break this habit.”

Chewing Ice

“Chewing on hard or frozen substances like ice may make your teeth susceptible to cracks and fractures. The cold temperature of ice can also cause tooth sensitivity. We recommend avoiding chewing ice and instead sipping chilled beverages without ice to satisfy the craving for crunch without risking dental health.”

Clenching or Grinding Your Teeth

“Teeth grinding, or bruxism can be particularly destructive as it often occurs subconsciously while you sleep. It wears down the surface of your teeth and can lead to significant jaw pain and headaches. Ashraf Dentistry often advises the use of custom-made night guards that prevent teeth from grinding against each other.”

Using Tobacco

“Tobacco use is one of the worst offenders for oral health. It not only stains teeth but also increases the risk of oral health issues and conditions, tooth loss, and various cancers. Quitting tobacco can be challenging, but it’s crucial for maintaining good oral and overall health. We offer support and referrals to cessation programs to help our patients.”

Sucking Your Thumb or Fingers

“This habit, especially prevalent in children, can lead to malocclusion, or misaligned teeth, as well as changes in the jaw structure. It’s important to address these habits early on. We provide interventions that may include appliances that discourage thumb sucking and help maintain proper dental alignment.”

Using Toothpicks

“While toothpicks can help dislodge food from between teeth, improper or aggressive use can injure the gums or even break off and lodge in the gums. We advocate for gentle flossing as a safer and more effective method to clean between teeth, ensuring both the removal of food particles and protection of gum health.”

Misusing Your Teeth

“Teeth are not tools. Using them to open bottles rip open packaging can lead to chips or even breaks. At Ashraf Dentistry, we emphasize the importance of using the right tools for these tasks and preserving your teeth for what they are meant for — eating and smiling.”

Sipping Soda

“The acids and sugars in sodas are extremely harmful, promoting tooth decay and enamel erosion. We recommend minimizing soda intake and opting for healthier beverages like water or unsweetened teas, which hydrate without adversely affecting your dental health.”

Snacking on Sugary Treats

“Regularly eating sweet snacks can lead to more frequent acid attacks on tooth enamel, fostering decay. We encourage patients at Ashraf Dentistry to opt for healthier snacking options like fruits, vegetables, or nuts and to maintain good oral hygiene by brushing after these snacks when possible.”

Avoiding the Dentist

“It is essential to regularly visit the dentist to prevent dental problems and address any problems before they become severe. Many dental problems can be managed effectively if caught early. We strive to make dental visits at Ashraf Dentistry as comfortable and stress-free as possible, encouraging our patients to maintain regular check-ups.”

One should be mindful of certain practices that can detrimentally affect your dental health, like irregular brushing and flossing, intake of sweet foods and beverages, and the use of tobacco products. By actively steering clear of these practices, you can significantly enhance your dental health and lower the chances of experiencing dental health problems. Bear in mind that prevention is always more desirable than seeking treatment later; therefore, maintaining proper dental hygiene practices is crucial to ensure a radiant and healthy smile for many years ahead.


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Lamine Diallo
Lamine Diallo
02:21 15 Jun 22
My family and I have been receiving care from Dr. Ashraf and his amazing team since we first moved to Waterloo in 2002. His assessment skills are spot on, he is gentle and is very skilled at working with anxious\nervous patients. My dental hygienist is Lin who is very knowledgeable, and passionate about her work. She is amazingly gentle yet very,very thorough when it comes to preventative dental care. She is didactic as well, taking the time to teach patients how to use certain equipment as well as addressing gingivitis in pro-active ways. We are in very capable hands.
Trisa Kapetaneas
Trisa Kapetaneas
18:12 01 Jun 22
I have been a patient here for over 2 years now and I've always enjoyed the experience. The staff are professional and have always made me feel comfortable. I recently had a cleaning done by Lynn for the first time and she was amazing! Will continue to visit for my checkups/cleanings.
Aamir Mirza
Aamir Mirza
14:54 03 May 22
Dr. Ashraf and his team is amazing. All work done under one umbrella for entire family. We all are very happy to be under the care for the last 20 plus years. Lin, dental hygienist is remarkable professional. She knows her job so well that I look forward to my cleaning every time I'm scheduled. Thank you Lin for your amazing work for my entire family!
Alena Delena
Alena Delena
14:50 02 May 22
My family loves Dr Ashraf. We've been through many dentists in many cities and he's by far our favourite one. He's always thorough and professional. His referrals are also of equal high caliber. I went to him for a root canal and a crown. I had many concerns and he addressed them all personally. He even went so far as to redo a root canal for me. Recommend.
Nicole Wood
Nicole Wood
15:31 28 Apr 22
I found Ashraf Dentistry a year ago and I absolutely love their dental clinic. Everyone is very kind and thorough. Lin is the best dental hygienist I've ever had! She takes the time to ensure I receive the care I need. Both dentists I've seen have also been very kind and wonderful at making me feel like my teeth are being taken care of. Highly recommend!
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