We all want a strong, healthy smile. We do our best to maintain good oral hygiene habits, but little habits can slip in that we might not realize can cause serious harm. Here are three things that might seem innocuous, but might cause you an unwanted trip to Dr. Peterson‘s office.

Chewing on ice – Many people chew on ice at work to pass the time or even to substitute for snacking. And it seems like a good idea, since it is sugar- and calorie-free. But chewing on that hard, frozen ice can chip or crack your teeth. Although it melts, ice has a rigid molecular structure that can withstand a lot of strain. Ice, as with other cold foods, can also irritate sensitive teeth, causing toothaches. Better to chew sugarless gum as an alternative.

Cough drops – We know that sugary candy can lead to cavities, but what about something you take for cough relief? Many cough drops have as much sugar as any hard candy, and that sugar gets coated all over your teeth as you suck on it. Bacteria convert that sugar into acid, which cause cavities. Be sure to brush after finishing a cough drop.

Opening things with your teeth – Sometimes our inner Neanderthal comes out and we just have to open a stubborn package with our teeth. But teeth are not designed to perform this kind of task, and can chip or crack. Step into the modern world and use some scissors.

Any step you take to improve your oral health is a step in the right direction. Contact Donna Peterson DDS in Stockton, CA at 209-473-2521, to get started on your new routine today.