Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Oral Care

Font Size

15 Ways to Wreck Your Teeth

To make your teeth last a lifetime, don't do these things.

12. Be Bulimic.

Bulimia, which is characterized by bingeing and vomiting, can cause significant dental problems because of the stomach acids. 

“The enamel is usually just kind of worn off, mostly on the front teeth, but even going to the back teeth,” King says. If the damage is done, you may need restorations.

13. Abuse Drugs Such as “Meth."

Crystal methamphetamine, an illegal and highly addictive stimulant, can wreak havoc on your mouth. Users often crave sugary foods and drinks, clench their teeth, and have dry mouth. Telltale signs of “meth mouth” are rampant decay with blackened teeth on the verge of falling out.

“People on methamphetamines are notorious for not taking care of themselves,” Gross says. “By the time the patient is 25 or 30, they are looking at a full set of dentures.”

14. Chronically Use Some Legal Medications.

Oral contraceptives change a woman’s hormonal balance and can lead to chronic gum disease.

“Once they get off the medication, the damage is often done,” Gross says. Some over-the-counter cough medications have lots of sugar, and antihistamines can cause dry mouth, which can lead to decay since saliva protects the teeth.

15. Continue Lighting Up.

Smoking is bad for teeth and gums. Stains make teeth more susceptible to bacteria. It’s also a factor in the development of periodontal or gum and bone disease. 

“The smoke impedes the ability of the gum tissue to maintain a healthy state and fight off disease-creating bacteria,” Gross says. “Almost half of the people who are over 60 who wear dentures are smokers.”

1|2|3
Reviewed on June 10, 2011

How Do I Measure Up? Get the Facts Fast!

Number of Days Per Week I Floss

Get the latest Oral Health newsletter delivered to your inbox!


or
Answer:
Never
(0)
Good
(1-3)
Better
(4-6)
Best
(7)

You are currently

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.

Start Over

Step:  of 

Today on WebMD

big smile
Article
Man grinding teeth
Article
 
Close-up of toothbrush
Health Check
how your mouth impacts your health
Slideshow
 

are battery operated toothbrushes really better
Video
bpa dental sealants
Video
 
Healthy Mouth Slideshow
Video
Young woman holding lip at dentists office
Video
 

15 myths and facts about cavities
Video
how healthy is your mouth
Video
 
elmo brushing teeth
fitVideo
5 ways to prevent diabetes dental problems
Video