Don'T Let These 3 Bad Office Habits Hurt Your Dental Health

Sure, you know how important it is to brush your teeth, floss every day, and visit your dentist regularly. But those are just the basics of caring for your teeth. You also need to know how to spot bad habits that might be harming your teeth and put a stop to them. And some of those bad habits may be based in your work routine. Take a look at some bad office habits that may be hurting your teeth.

Nursing Your Coffee

Are you one of the many working folks that can't start your day without a strong cup of coffee? It's understandable – the caffeine can provide a powerful energy boost, and if you add coffee, the sugar may enhance the effect. But it could be hurting your teeth.

Coffee contains tannins, which can cause unwelcome yellow or brown stains on your teeth. While unsightly, these are usually just a cosmetic problem. More worrisome is the cream and sugar that can attract decay-causing bacteria. Sweet designer coffee concoctions are especially rough on your teeth. And if you tend to nurse your coffee for hours instead of consuming it quickly, the coffee and sugar have that much more time to stain your teeth and promote decay. To top it all off, coffee tends to stick to your tongue, which can cause bad breath.

If you can't live without your coffee, at least try it black or reduce the amount of sugar you use. Drink it all in one sitting instead of nursing it through your morning meeting. Brush your teeth with baking soda or a whitening toothpaste to reduce staining, and keep some sugar-free gum on hand to help with the coffee breath.

Chewing Your Pencil

Do you chew on your pencil or pen while you're thinking of what to write in that report? If so, you should know that you're wearing down your teeth with that habit. You're not a beaver, with teeth that continue to grow and need to be worn down – if you wear your teeth down too much, you'll need caps or crowns eventually. What's more, you can accidentally fracture a tooth if you bite down too hard.

Chewing on pencils or pens is usually just a nervous habit. You may be able to break it – or at least minimize the damage – by substituting a more tooth-friendly object to chew. Pack yourself a bag of carrot or celery sticks and chew on those instead.

Tearing With Your Teeth

Do you ever tear open a package with your front teeth, or hold pins between your teeth while your hands are busy? If so, stop! Unlike the habit of chewing on a pencil, using your teeth on non-food items this way is more a matter of convenience than nerves. Your incisors are useful sharp tools, but they're meant for ripping through food, not a stubborn envelope. Using your teeth as cutting tools or pin holders is a sure way to chip your enamel or even break a tooth. Plus, it's not very sanitary.

Breaking this habit should be easy – just make sure that you keep a letter opener, pair of scissors, pin cushion, or other tool you use often in your workspace, so it's available if you need it. And if you're can't find the tool that you need when you need it, consider the time it takes you to walk around and look for it a short break. Don't risk a broken tooth just because the intern borrowed your scissors without asking.

If you have habits that may be negatively affecting your teeth, it couldn't hurt to discuss them with your dentist. Your dentist may be able to help you find ways to break the habit. For more information, contact Pine Lake Dental Group or a similar organization.