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Do You Have These 5 Bad Dental Habits?

Dental Care Problem 3: Grinding Your Teeth

Whether you grind your teeth during the day, at night, or both day and night, it wears them down. Although teeth grinding can be caused by stress and anxiety, it is more likely caused by an abnormal bite or missing or crooked teeth.

Your dentist may suggest wearing a mouth guard for teeth grinding at night. Custom models made by your dentist cost more than over-the-counter ones, but they generally fit better and work better, too. Sometimes, it helps simply to be aware that you are grinding your teeth. If it is caused by stress, consider an exercise program or counseling.

You may also want to try cutting back on foods and drinks that contain caffeine; reduce or avoid alcohol consumption; don't chew on pencils or anything else that isn't food; if you notice that you clench or grind your teeth during the day, position the tip of your tongue between your teeth to train your jaw muscles to relax; and, relax your jaw muscles at night by holding a warm washcloth against your cheek, in front of the earlobe.

 

Dental Care Problem 4: Using a Hard-Bristled Toothbrush

Some people think the firmer the toothbrush, the better. This isn’t so, especially for older adults. With age, the gums push back and the roots of the teeth become exposed, often increasing sensitivity. The root is covered with cementum, which is worn away more easily than enamel. A brush with too-firm bristles may irritate the gums and lead to sensitive teeth.

Ask your dentist or hygienist what toothbrush might be best to maintain your dental health.

Dental Care Problem 5: Not Brushing or Flossing Properly

Some people floss and brush their teeth regularly, but not often enough. You should aim to brush twice a day, and be sure to replace your manual toothbrush or electric toothbrush head every three or four months.

Flossing teeth should be done daily, too. If you aren't sure if you floss properly -- and dentists say many people aren’t -- ask your dentist or your hygienist for a demonstration on your next visit. The American Dental Association also says antibacterial mouth rinses can reduce bacteria that can cause gum disease.

You may find a powered toothbrush better, especially if you have hand, arm, or shoulder problems that make manual brushing difficult. If you have children, be sure to buy them child-sized brushes so they fit their hands and mouth, and are easier to use.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Alfred D. Wyatt Jr., DMD on August 08, 2014

How Do I Measure Up? Get the Facts Fast!

Number of Days Per Week I Floss

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Only 18.5% of Americans never floss. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Floss removes food trapped between the teeth and removes the film of bacteria that forms there before it turns to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Try flossing just one tooth to get started.

You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for 3 more days!

You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily, but you're well on your way to making a positive impact on your teeth and gums. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for all 7 days!

Only 50.5% of Americans floss daily, and good for you that you are one of them! Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Congratulations on your good oral health habit!

SOURCES:

American Dental Association, Healthy People 2010

This tool is intended only for adults 18 and older.

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