Avoid these Damaging Dental Habits By Thomas G. Zarger Jr., D.D.S. on September 08, 2015

Illustrated tooth with a question mark on topThe teeth are naturally strong and are meant to withstand a significant amount of wear and tear. Still, with all of the force and pressure that the teeth are exposed to, it is important for patients to do everything they can to ensure that the teeth are well-maintained. Practicing good oral hygiene habits is key, as is maintaining a regular schedule of dental exams and cleanings. General dentistry care helps to preserve good oral health and is important in the prevention of tooth damage. However, patients must also do their part by avoiding habits that can be damaging to the teeth. Dr. Thomas G. Zarger explains some bad dental habits that his Knoxville patients should avoid in order to protect the health, strength, and beauty of their teeth.


Bruxism, which is more commonly known as teeth grinding, or clenching, is a particularly damaging dental habit. The force and pressure that bruxism places on the teeth can lead to erosion, damage, chips, cracks, or fractures. Any one of these problems will not only compromise the structure of the teeth, but will also increase the risk of decay or infection.

Using the Teeth as Tools

Many people use their teeth as tools and think nothing of it. However, using the teeth to open bottles, tear open packages, or bite the nails places excessive pressure on the teeth. That pressure will cause damage to the tooth enamel over time. As enamel is broken down, the teeth become weaker and the risk of decay and infection increases.

Improper Brushing Techniques

Many patients assume that, if they are brushing their teeth, they are benefiting their smile. It is true that regular brushing is important, but if improper techniques are used, the teeth can actually become damaged. To ensure that the teeth benefit from oral hygiene habits and do not become damaged, patients should avoid using excessive pressure and should opt for a toothbrush with soft bristles. Anything rougher could lead to the breakdown of tooth enamel.

Sugar Consumption

Most people know that foods and beverages that are high in sugar are bad for their physical health, but sugars, starches, and acids are all damaging to the teeth. These eat away at tooth enamel and can cause decay or erosion. While limited consumption of these products should be fine as long as good oral hygiene techniques are practiced, patients should limit their consumption.


Another habit that is bad for both the body and teeth is smoking. Smoking can discolor the teeth, is a common cause of bad breath, and has been shown to increase the build up of bacteria, plaque, and tartar. In addition, patients who smoke have been shown to heal more slowly following dental treatment such as tooth extraction or oral surgery. In short, smoking is a bad idea for the health of the mouth and body.

Schedule an Appointment

One of the worst things a person can do to their mouth is avoid professional dental care. If you are overdue for a regular dental exam or cleaning, we urge you to schedule an appointment at your earliest convenience. Dr. Thomas G. Zarger can provide you with the dental care services that will help you to maintain a healthy and attractive smile. We look forward to hearing from you.

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Dr. Thomas G. Zarger, Jr., DDS Family Dentistry in Knoxville

Our practice has provided skilled and compassionate dentistry for patients in the Knoxville, TN, community for over 30 years. Dr. Zarger is a member of:

  • American Dental Association
  • Second District Dental Society
  • Tennessee Dental Association
  • American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry

We strive to make care convenient and affordable to all patients and accept CareCredit financing to help reduce the cost of treatment. Schedule your consultation today online, or by calling (865) 693-7631.

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