1. Naughty: Using a hard-bristled toothbrush. Not only can brushing with bristles that are too hard be painful, it can also wear away the gums and erode tooth enamel at the gum line.
Nice: Brushing with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Pliable bristles are easier on gums and can reach in between teeth and under the gums without causing damage or pain.
2. Naughty: Not flossing daily, or flossing incorrectly. Even if you’re flossing every day as recommended, it won’t do much good if your technique is off.
Nice: Flossing daily and taking the time to do it right. Need some tips? Feel free to ask us about flossing.
3. Naughty: Not wearing a mouth guard while playing sports. Without the protection offered by a mouth guard, you and your sporty friends are more likely to suffer from lacerations, bruises and chipped or lost teeth.
Nice: Wearing a mouth guard, even for non-contact sports that have a high possibility for mouth injury, such as ice skating or snowboarding. Wearing a sports guard can help prevent a concision.
4. Naughty: Sharing utensils, particularly with infants and toddlers. Everyday activities such as sharing utensils, tasting each other’s food or washing a pacifier off in your mouth may seem harmless, but they can actually pass bad bacteria from one mouth to another – including bacteria that cause cavities.
Nice: Making sure everyone has his or her own utensils, straws and toothbrushes. Avoid passing cavity-causing bacteria by making sure no one shares toothbrushes, utensils, straws or food. If you have a little one, don’t clean his or her pacifier by placing it in your own mouth and discourage your child from placing fingers in anyone’s mouth. Children will usually put their fingers back into their own mouths afterward, increasing the chance of transmitting bacteria.
5. Naughty: Grinding teeth, also known as bruxism. Over time, this painful habit can wear down teeth and may even cause fractures, not to mention disrupting loved ones’ sleep!
Nice: Taking steps to stop nighttime grinding. If you know you’re a nighttime grinder, talk with your dentist. We can recommend treatment, including a mouth guard that will prevent tooth damage. Unsure if you’re grinding your teeth in your sleep? Common symptoms include headaches, unexplained facial pain, a sore jaw, neck or earaches.
By following these “nice” dental behaviors this holiday season (and all year), you’ll be rewarded with the best present of all – a healthy smile and pain-free mouth!