9 bad habits that kill your teeth


You can brush your teeth twice a day, floss regularly and still get a lot of problems with your teeth and gums. And the reason for this is a variety of bad habits that you can learn to control.

MedAboutMe dealt with tooth decay habits.

To drink wine

To drink wine

Wine is bad for teeth. How bad — scientists and doctors disagree.

Any wine contains acids in large quantities. Acids increase the porosity of the enamel, lead to cracks, and cracks are a direct road to caries. On the other hand, according to separate studies, the polyphenols contained in red wine have antimicrobial properties and do not allow caries bacteria to form a bacterial film on the surface of the teeth.

One way or another, but porosity and cracks also allow chromogenic compounds that give wine color to penetrate deep into the enamel, giving it a poorly washed off shade.

Maybe then you should drink only white wine? Alas. White wine does not paint teeth in a noticeable color, but it, like red, contains tannins, which are also harmful to enamel.

Wine experts recommend:

  • brush your teeth before sitting down to drink wine. Plaque itself perfectly precipitates the coloring components of wine and tannins, so that their concentration on the surface of an uncleaned tooth increases;
  • do not roll the wine in your mouth, but swallow it quickly;
  • you can wipe your teeth after drinking wine with a damp cloth;
  • you can also eat wine with anything — the main thing is that saliva is produced at the same time, which washes away pigments and tannins from enamel.


This bad habit gives the teeth an unpleasant yellowish tint, which is more or less possible to get rid of only with the help of harsh bleaching agents that are harmful to tooth enamel. But this is not the only harm of smoking.

A study by Russian scientists from the North Ossetian State Medical Academy showed that when smoking, in the first minute there is a sharp rush of blood to the soft tissues of the oral cavity, and then an equally sharp narrowing of the blood vessels and a deterioration in their blood supply. This leads to a destructive effect on the periodontal tissues surrounding the tooth.

Smoking also greatly dries the oral cavity, having a negative effect on the mucous membrane and reducing its protective properties. Due to the temperature effect, the integrity of the tooth enamel suffers, which increases the risk of damage by caries bacteria.

Take sugary medicines and eat candy

It wasn’t that being treated with sweet syrups and sucking candies was a bad habit. However, it is also a risk factor for the development of dental damage. Well, about sweets, my mother told us all in childhood: “Don’t eat a lot of sweets — your teeth will fall out.”

Mom, of course, exaggerated a little. Not all candies are equally bad for teeth. But, like sweet syrups, toffees, marmalades, Snickers, Mars and other delicate sticky goodies that settle on the teeth in a thin layer, they are an ideal breeding ground for caries bacteria. Dried fruits, including raisins and prunes, also belong to the same category of products that are harmful to teeth.

Therefore, doctors recommend, firstly, to choose sugar-free preparations as cough medicines. Secondly, wash down the eaten sweets or dried fruits with tea, preferably unsweetened — if you really can’t refuse them at all.

gnaw ice

It would seem that ice is water, no harmful sugars, etc. However, chewing on ice is very harmful for the teeth, more precisely for the enamel that covers them. When cracks and chips appear in the enamel coating of the tooth, caries bacteria quickly settle there.

Gnawing ice is also harmful for large fillings in the teeth — the threat of breaking off the tooth wall increases.

People with dentures, veneers and other structures installed in the mouth should also not try to crush ice with them — there is a high risk of breaking them.

And even the habit of sucking ice cubes is harmful to the teeth, as it increases the risk of developing their hypersensitivity.

Wear tongue piercing

Dentists strongly disapprove of tongue piercings. Metal rings lead to damage to the enamel of the teeth and loss of fillings in case of accidental biting, the piercing has a destructive effect on the gums, it can get stuck between the teeth. Finally, it interferes quite strongly with x-rays of the dentition.

In 2020, Italian scientists from Sapienza University of Rome published the results of a study that included nearly 400 mouth piercings. Their examination showed that 42% have signs of generalized gingivitis, 20% have a recession (reduction in volume) of soft tissues by 3-4 mm, up to the exposure of the roots and neck of the teeth, and 22% have fractures of the teeth caused by piercing.

Do sports that are dangerous for your teeth without a mouth guard

Mouth guard is a personal protective device made of silicone. According to American dentists, wearing mouthguards in the United States annually prevents more than 200 thousand injuries of the oral cavity received in training.

Russian scientists from the Saratov State Medical University. IN AND. Razumovsky in their article for 2018 indicate that injuries of the maxillofacial region, especially damage to the frontal teeth, most often occur not at all in martial arts, as one would expect, but in sports such as football, gymnastics, etc. This is due with the fact that martial arts provide for wearing a cap. Their most popular variety is silicone mouthguards, which are fitted to the teeth of a particular athlete using the “weld and bite” method.

Today, doctors recommend wearing a mouth guard not only for martial arts sparring, but also for training and competition in water polo, rugby, hockey and football, as well as when riding a skateboard, etc.

Grind your teeth

Teeth grinding (bruxism) is a fairly common problem affecting 5 to 20% of the general population and half of children. The scale of the influence of bruxism on the teeth is characterized by the fact that during chewing, the upper and lower jaws touch for a maximum of 25-30 minutes in 12 hours. During nocturnal bouts of bruxism, the contact time reaches 40 minutes per hour.

As dentists point out, bruxism leads to abrasion of the hard tissues of the teeth, which can cause a change in bite and the development of large-scale violations of the maxillofacial region — both in the work of the muscles and from an aesthetic point of view.

Other effects of bruxism include chipped enamel, cracked teeth, loosening of teeth, and even tooth loss.

Chewing pencils and pens

Chewing pencils and pens

The habit of chewing pencils and pens is usually formed in people who are under stress. Often this habit can be found in schoolchildren whose studies began with negative emotions or conflicts with teachers.

Brazilian dentists from UNESP-São Paulo State University, in a 2011 paper, describe a situation where the habit of chewing pencils led to a serious tooth injury. The 12-year-old patient in question had had a crown fracture in the maxillary right central incisor 2 years prior. An immature tooth was damaged at that time, and the patient had every chance to save it. However, the boy appeared at the dentists with complaints of pain — it turned out that the child was chewing a pencil, which caused pulp necrosis and fracture repair. The tooth was saved, categorically forbidding the patient to take foreign objects into his mouth.

Tear open packaging and open bottles with your teeth

Misuse of teeth is harmful to their health. When trying to open a bottle, you can get not only a chipped enamel, but also a tooth fracture, as well as seriously damage the soft tissues of the lips and oral cavity if the bottle fails to jump off the tooth. Even opening the bags with your teeth leads to damage to the enamel and an unnatural load on the teeth, which is fraught with their destruction.

Piercing and Oral Health: A Study on the Knowledge of Risks and Complications / Covello F, Salerno C, Giovannini V // Int J Environ Res Public Health 2020 #17

Effect of smoking on microcirculation in periodontal tissues / Kochieva I.V., and others. // Medical and pharmaceutical journal «Pulse» 2015

Influence of a parafunctional oral habit on root fracture development after trauma to an immature tooth. / dos Santos CL, et al. // J Craniofac Surg. July 2011 22(4):1304-6

The problem of bruxism in modern dentistry / Ivanova A.A. // Bulletin of Medical Internet Conferences 2017

Orthopedic dentistry in sports. Means of protection of the maxillofacial area / Chernyshov I.I. // Bulletin of Medical Internet Conferences 2018


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