Everyday Habits that Damage the Teeth

eating nails

Everyday Habits that Damage the Teeth

St. Lawrence Dentistry wants to help in your goal of maintaining optimal oral health as this one of the keys to overall wellbeing. Most of our Mississauga community is aware of how important it is to regularly brush and floss. However, there are some other habits than can be deleterious that are easy to forget about and can impact the long-term health of our teeth. There are common habits that may appear harmless but can have a significant impact on our teeth.


Daily habits which St. Lawrence Dentistry advises our patients consider curtailing are:

  1. Eating sticky, sugary treats. Sugary snacks increase your risk of tooth decay. Bacteria in dental plaque feed on the sugar in your mouth to produce acid that attacks tooth enamel. Try eating candy with meals instead of as a separate snack. Our mouth produces more saliva when you eat meals, helping rinse away sticky and sugary residue. You may want to substitute sugar snacks with more healthy meal replacement bars. If you live in Port Credit these can be found at our local Organic Planet store on Lakeshore Road.

  2. Drinking soda. Like sweet treats, soda is loaded with sugar and acid. The acids in soft drinks soften the tooth enamel, which lead to dental cavities. Drinking just one soda a day can cause significant damage to teeth in both adults and children. Try staying hydrated with sugar-free drinks or fresh water.For more information of dental decay please visit us here:Caries/Cavities Dental Treatment

  3. Smoking or chewing tobacco. Tobacco products not only greatly increase the risk of oral cancer, it can also lead to yellowing of teeth. Smoking can also cause gum and periodontal disease, and even lead to decayed and lost teeth. Even worse than regular smoking is the now legal Cannabis use. In addition to all the oral effects of smoking Cannabis also has dangerous psychogenic effects.To learn more about smoking cessation please visit us here:Smoking CessationTo learn more about the effects of smoking Cannabis of your oral health please visit us here:Cannabis and your Oral Health

  4. Brushing too hard. Brushing is an essential component of good oral health, but not when done incorrectly. Using a toothbrush with bristles that are too firm or brushing aggressively can wear down enamel, irritate your gums, increase your teeth’s sensitivity and cause cavities. We recommend purchasing a soft bristled toothbrush or an electrical toothbrush. If you live in Port Credit, the Shoppers Drug Mart at the Lakeshore and Maple intersection has a great selection. If you are a patient at our office you can always get an ideal tooth brush at St. Lawrence Dentistry.For more information on selecting the right toothbrush please visit us here:How to Choose the Right Toothbrush

  5. Grinding teeth. Teeth grinding (bruxism) can wear teeth down over time. It is most often caused by stress and sleeping habits, which makes it hard to control. Wearing a mouth guard at night can prevent the damage caused by grinding. If you feel you are grinding your teeth please talk to Dr. Hawryluk and he will assess your situation.To learn more about dental night guards please visit us here:Night Guard

  6. Chewing on ice, pens and pencils. Biting on pens and pencils can chip and crack teeth which can then lead to cavities and possible tooth loss if the damage is severe. Chewing on ice may also create small cracks in tooth enamel. Broken teeth from chewing on these non edibles can impair your ability to chew and smile with confidence. You may want to consider carrying sugarless gum with you for the next time you feel the urge to chew on something.

  7. Nail biting. Not only does nail biting increase the risk of you consuming a wide variety of harmful bacteria, but it can also cause chipping and cracking of teeth. Bacteria that is found under your fingernails can make a home in your mouth, leading to an infection in your mouth and gums. Bitter-tasting nail polishes are a good solution to help break this habit. In addition to the oral issues of nail biting, it can also wreak havoc on your hands leading to a host of dermatologic issues.

  8. Alcohol consumption. Some alcoholic drinks have a high sugar content which, as stated above, is a major factor in tooth decay. When selecting alcoholic drinks it is recommended to look for those with less sugar content. If you are in Port Credit, we know that the sales attendants at our local ‘Wine Rack’ store next to the Rabba Fine Foods are excellent in helping educate on sugar contents in wine. A dry brut champagne typically has about a half gram of sugar per 5-ounce serving. A doux champagne on the sweeter end of the spectrum can have anywhere between 8 and 10 grams of sugar, hence a drier champagne is a more ideal choice with respect to your dentition. Wine has a similar spectrum, according to with a typical dry white having 3 grams of sugar per 5-ounce serving, relative to a major 8 grams of sugar for a sweeter red wine, or port. It is always prudent to select a drier drink for the sake of your teeth. On another note, alcohol consumption leads to a decrease in saliva flow, so instead of being washed on its own, bacteria can adhere to the enamel and increases your risk of tooth decay. Finally, alcohol can stain teeth. Red wine, sangria and similar drinks with deep hues not only turn your teeth red, but can result in long-lasting discoloration and lack of luster.


The first step in breaking these habits is to recognize that they can compromise the structure and health of your smile. Awareness can be curative in itself. Please ask the staff at St. Lawrence Dentistry if you would like more information or would like to discuss methods of diminishing the above habits. Transforming destructive habits into protective measures can keep your teeth looking great for years to come.