Everyday Habits that Harm Your Smile

Everyone has habits that they do every day, and many of them affect their dental health. Some habits are good for your teeth, like brushing twice a day and flossing. Others, including some that you might not have considered, are not good for your teeth. Unfortunately, some of those bad habits can be hard to break once you start. Taking care of your teeth and gums is important, and it’s a good idea to look into the bad habits you might have started without realizing how much harm they do to your dental health. Here, Flintlock Dental will take a look at some habits you may have formed that can be bad for your oral health and what you can do to start reversing those habits for good.

Acidic and Sugary Food and Drink

When it comes to quenching your thirst, your oral hygiene is probably the last thing on your mind. You just want that cold, refreshing drink when you need it. Next time you choose that cold beverage, think about your oral health. Drinking a lot of soda, fruit juice, and other sugary and/or acidic beverages negatively affects your oral health. Consuming large amounts of these types of drinks, especially if you sip at them throughout the day, will leave those particles sitting on your teeth and gums, feeding the bacteria that cause tooth decay and producing cavities. This problem also exists in sugary and acidic foods. You can read more about the worst offenders here.

Chewing on Objects

Many people form the habit of chewing on the end of their pencil or other hard objects. This might seem like a harmless habit that soothes your stress, but it can create some problems for your teeth. Biting on anything hard like pens and pencils, ice, hard candies, or even your nails can leave you with microscopic splintering on your teeth. You should also avoid using your teeth to help open packaging. This damage is not easily noticed as you brush your teeth and smile into the mirror, but over time, these small cracks will lead to a larger structural problem for your teeth. The easy way to prevent this issue is to just grab a pair of scissors to open that package and try your hardest to not gnaw on the top of that pencil or chew on that ice.

Teeth Grinding

Over time, grinding your teeth will cause a lot of wear and tear. Oftentimes, a person doesn’t even realize that they’re doing it, and it can even happen while you’re sleeping. If you wake up with a sore jaw, it could be a sign that you’re grinding your teeth at night. Grinding your teeth or even clenching your jaw too tightly leads to tooth fractures and larger issues in your teeth and gums. It can also cause headaches and major jaw pain. If this is something that you notice yourself doing during the day, you can try chewing on some sugar-free gum. If you’re struggling with teeth grinding overnight, consult with your dentist so you can get the problem fixed.


So you just enjoyed some popcorn at the movie theater and you notice that you have a kernel stuck between your teeth. That nagging little piece of food is frustrating and you just want to get it out. How many times have you just reached for whatever pointy object is nearby instead of going to get some dental floss? Using objects such as paper clips or even toothpicks can actually lead to some damage to your teeth and gums. While toothpicks can be useful for dislodging large pieces of food from the outer sides of the teeth, floss is much safer and more effective at removing pieces stuck in between the teeth. You can prevent this damage by simply keeping a small container of dental floss in your purse, pocket, or desk drawer, so that the next time something gets stuck in your teeth, you can safely get it out and not cause unnecessary damage to your mouth.

Avoiding Regular Dental Visits

Life gets busy, and sometimes trips to the dentist fall to the bottom of your to-do list. Missing your regular checkups can let problems go undiscovered, leading to more severe issues later. If you wait until something major is going on with your teeth and gums, you’re setting yourself up for more pain and money spent than necessary. Going in for your regular cleanings is one of the best ways to stay on top of your dental health.

From using toothpicks to clean between your teeth to consuming too many sugary and acidic drinks, it’s easy to unknowingly start some bad habits for your dental health. The good news is that you can start up some good habits today! Keep up with brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing daily. Drink more water instead of soda and juice. Stop chewing on ice, hard candy, and pencil tips and start chewing on some sugar-free gum instead. Also, put that dental checkup at the top of your to-do list so you keep on top of your dental hygiene throughout the year!

Dr. Wolfgang Schaller

Dr. Wolfgang Schaller was born in Germany, but he moved to Kansas City, Missouri in 1975 and has been here ever since. He loves this area! After graduating from Rockhurst High School, he went on to pursue extensive higher education. Dr. Schaller really values continuing education and training because that’s how he is able to be the most qualified that he can to care for you and your family’s dental needs!

Dr. Schaller completed his undergraduate studies at Kansas State University. He then obtained both an MS degree in biochemistry and his DDS degree at the University of Iowa. Dr. Schaller has worked as a DDS in a group office in Kansas and a solo practitioner in Independence for almost 10 years.

Studying at the University of Iowa was a great experience not only for education, but that’s also where Dr. Schaller met his wonderful wife, Monika. They moved to theNorthland area of Kansas City after graduation, where they now live with their two beautiful daughters, Natalie and Gabrielle. Monika Schaller works at North Kansas City Hospital as an oncology pharmacist.

In addition to dentistry and spending time with his family, Dr. Schaller’s other interests include gardening and photography. He looks forward to getting to know you and your family, too!