10 Habits That Hurt Your Oral Health

TMJ Treatment | 1 | Uptown Dental Associates | Albuquerque, NM

Your teeth are meant to last a lifetime — and with proper care, they can. But certain bad habits will take a real toll on your dental health: decay, gum disease, bad breath, tmj problems, staining, and the list goes on.

If you are guilty of any of the following behaviors, try to stop. A strong, healthy, and enduring smile is well worth the effort.

Is it time for your next checkup? If you live in or around Albuquerque, NM, call Uptown Dental Associates at 505-407-8781.



Unless you’ve lived under a rock for the past several decades, you know that smoking is bad, bad, news. That goes for chewing tobacco as well. They have several negative effects on your dental health specifically. Tobacco users are far more likely to develop gum disease than non-users. And their periodontal disease tends to be more resistant to treatment. Tobacco use increases your chances of developing oral cancer as well (in addition to other cancers). Plus, it yellows your teeth and makes your breath stink. And who wants that?


Coffee and Tea

We know it’s tough to get the morning started without your daily cup of joe (or tea). Maybe you’re even the type who tends to guzzle coffee and tea throughout the day. But these drinks have a dental downside. They will stain your teeth.

If you must have your coffee or tea, try to keep it to two cups or less each day. Following up with a glass of water will help clean out your mouth. Green teas and certain herbal teas are less likely to stain.



We depend on saliva to help keep our mouths clean throughout the day. Alcohol tends to dry out the mouth. Heavy drinkers are much more likely to develop excessive plaque on their teeth and to lose their permanent teeth.


Acidic Foods

When you eat acidic foods, the acids will wear away at the tooth enamel, which eventually leads to sensitivity, pain, and decay. Common offenders are citrus fruits, pickles, tomato products, and wine. We are not saying you have to avoid of these things altogether — after all, many of them have health benefits as well — but you should be aware of their effects and follow them up with plenty of water.


Nail Biting

This nervous habit is bad for your teeth and your nails! In addition to making your fingertips look ragged and unkempt, nail biting puts you at risk for a broken or chipped tooth. Plus, you risk transferring nasty (and potentially disease-causing) bacteria from your nails to your mouth. And from your mouth to your fingers, where you may end up spreading germs to everything you touch.


Teeth Clenching

Teeth grinding and clenching, or bruxism, is a bad habit that often happens at night as you sleep. It can cause a wide range of of problems: tmj pain, lockjaw, migraines, facial soreness, earaches, neck and upper back issues, and more.

At Uptown Dental Associates, we have solutions to help end your teeth grinding and clenching. Call our office to find out more.  


Lax Oral Hygiene

It may seem obvious, but it’s so important we’re going to say it anyway. You must brush twice every day, and floss daily. Routine oral hygiene is perhaps the most important thing you can do to maintain the health of your teeth and gums.

We understand — mornings are hectic, and sometimes at night you think you’re too tired. But it’s really worth making this a habit. It will more than pay off in the long run.


Brushing Too Hard

We just love people who are enthusiastic about their oral hygiene. However, one thing you don’t want to do is to brush your teeth too vigorously. Scrubbing the teeth may wear down the enamel and gums, eventually leading to tooth decay and gum disease. It’s important to be gentle, but thorough. Brush for two minutes and reach all surfaces of the teeth. And always use a soft-bristled toothbrush (not medium or hard).


Grazing on Food

If you are in the habit of grazing or snacking throughout the day, try to keep your food consumption to mealtimes. In addition to being bad for your weight, continuous eating leaves a yucky film of bacteria on your teeth. This can result in tooth decay and bad breath.


Using Your Teeth as Tools

Your teeth are not scissors. I repeat, your teeth are not scissors. Nor are they pliers. So please stop using them as such. Is that bag of pretzels worth risking a broken or chipped tooth? No, it’s not.

One habit you need to start (if you haven’t already) is the habit of going to the dentist regularly. To book an appointment at Uptown Dental Associates of Albuquerque, NM, fill out our online form or call 505-407-8781.