Do you want your pearly whites to last a lifetime? Do you want to avoid a future filled with invasive, uncomfortable, and expensive restorative dental procedures?

Of course you do.

Taking care of your oral health is not just about going through the motions of brushing and flossing every day, and visiting the dentist twice a year. (Although those things are important, of course.)

What you eat and drink and how you use those choppers is important too. Read on to learn about ten ways you may be mistreating and misusing your teeth without even realizing it.

Work on reforming your bad habits, and book your next appointment at Kirchner Dental of Jeffersonville, IN. Call 812-913-6093.

Chewy and Sweet Stuff

Anything that’s chewy and sweet is bad news for your teeth. This includes chewy candies like caramel, taffy, and fruit chews, but also less obvious culprits like fruit roll-ups, chewy granola bars, and even raisins. These sticky and concentrated sources of sugar get trapped in the grooves of the teeth and are difficult to remove. They promote the growth of harmful bacteria, which produce acids that lead to tooth decay.


Cigarettes and chewing tobacco are damaging to your overall health and your oral health specifically. People who smoke are at an increased risk of gum disease, and their periodontitis is more difficult to treat. They also have a higher risk of developing oral cancer than nonsmokers. Plus, tobacco yellows the teeth and causes bad breath.

Sugary Drinks

In addition to being high in calories, sweetened drinks are bad for your teeth. Think about it: if you drink soda, juice, or sports drinks, you are essentially coating your teeth with a layer of sugar. Which brings on the bacteria, which bring on the acids and tooth decay. Even diet soda is harmful to teeth. It may not have sugar, but it does contain high levels of acid, which will wear down your tooth enamel. Stick to water or white milk.

Coffee and Tea

Are your pearly whites no longer so pearly or white? Your coffee or tea habit may be to blame. Both of these warming drinks will stain your teeth over time. If you do drink coffee or tea, stick to a cup or two each day. (Try not to get into the habit of drinking these beverages all day long.) When you finish your cup, brush your teeth or rinse your mouth with water.

Teeth Clenching and Grinding

Also known as bruxism, teeth clenching and grinding are habits often born out of stress. This destructive behavior wears down enamel, puts you at risk of chipping or breaking a tooth, and can cause jaw pain and other problems with your TMJ. You can’t always get rid of the stress in your life, but relaxation techniques may help. At Kirchner Dental, we can also fit you with a custom nightguard to help you break the habit.

Chewing on Ice

For some people, there are few things more satisfying than crunching on ice cubes. But when you chew on hard ice, you are putting your teeth at risk for breakage. And that’s not worth it!

Biting Your Nails

If you are in the habit of biting your nails when you are nervous, now is a good time to stop. Not only do your fingernails look chewed up, but you can end up damaging your teeth as well. And there is also the issue of bacteria — transferred to your mouth from your fingers and vice versa.

Using Your Teeth as Tools

Repeat after me: starting today, I will never use my teeth as a tool. You’ve done it. We’ve all done it. We’ve used our chompers to rip tags off clothing, to open potato chip bags, to tear a stubborn piece of tape. But keep it up, and one of these days you may end up paying with a chipped or broken tooth.

Brushing Incorrectly

You’ve been brushing your teeth your entire life, but have you been doing it right? You should use gentle pressure, as brushing too hard can scrape away the tooth enamel and actually lead to decay. Brush for a full two minutes, being sure to reach all surfaces of the teeth, including the backs. Brush the tongue as well. And use a soft-bristled toothbrush, as hard- and medium-bristled toothbrushes may damage tooth enamel and gums.


Snacking or grazing on food throughout the day leaves an acidic film on your teeth. And that’s a recipe for cavities and tooth decay. Try to limit between-meal eating.

Treating your teeth well includes twice-yearly visits to the dentist. To book an appointment at Kirchner Dental, call our Jeffersonville, IN office at 812-913-6093. Or request an appointment through our handy online form.