Smile Survival: Are You Guilty Of These Bad Habits?

A beautiful smile requires care, maintenance and mindfulness. “We see so many patients who break their teeth or existing restorations because they are careless about what that put in their mouths,” says New York City cosmetic dentist Dr. Victoria Veytsman of Cosmetic Dental Studios. She also warns that anything hard can chip enamel and scrape your gums—and anything acidic can wear away enamel as well. Here, Dr. Veytsman shares the top ways to damage your smile, as well tips for preserving its appearance.

Never use your teeth as an instrument or tool: “Using your teeth to open bottles is a bad idea. We’ve had to repair countless teeth and veneers because of fractures caused by this. This can really weaken and damage enamel as well.”

Don’t chew ice: “A lot of people tend to bite ice or ice chips. This can lead to little micro-fractures in the enamel and increase tooth sensitivity.”

Steer clear of acidic foods: “Lemons are acidic and some people have the habit of keeping them in their mouths. This can lead to enamel erosion and disrupts the healthy pH of the mouth.”

Just say no to nail-biting: “Acrylic nails are very hard, and biting them can cause fractures. Even more, bacteria can collect under natural and artificial nails, which makes this a particularly unsanitary habit.”

Skip the sugary foods: “We all know sugar causes cavities. The issue with gum, hard or chewy candies and dried fruit is that they stick in the grooves of the teeth and are hard to brush off.”

Stop smoking: “Not only is smoking very bad for your overall health, it’s very unhealthy for your mouth and is one of the factors that can cause oral cancer. It also stains teeth and causes halitosis.”

Be conservative with bleaching: “Bleaching is one of the most common cosmetic dentistry procedures, but doing it too often can lead to sensitivity. It’s best to limit in-office bleaching to once a year, and use Crest Whitestrips as maintenance in between.”

So now that you know what not to do to preserve your smile, here are Dr. Veytsman’s suggestions for what you should do to maximize the health and appearance of your teeth.

See your dentist twice a year: Regular checkups and cleaning are key.

Drink up: “Water helps regulate the pH of the mouth. Drink a lot of it—especially after anything acidic like coffee or wine.”

Know when to brush: “Don’t brush immediately after having something acidic, as this brushes the acid into your enamel. Rinse first, then brush.”

Take proper care of your teeth: “Use an electric toothbrush, floss rinse with mouthwash and address issues as they arise—don’t wait!”

If any of the above offenses have had a negative impact on your smile, Dr. Vetysman shares these dramatic makeovers to illustrate the difference cosmetic dentistry can make…