It’s true – your smile is one of the first things others notice about you.  Taking care of your teeth is important, not only to keep your smile looking healthy but for maintaining overall health as well.  Poor dental hygiene has been linked to heart disease, respiratory infections, dementia, and cancer, among many other ailments.  So, what are the worse things you can do to your smile?  Reader’s Digest weighs in.


If you think lip or tongue piercing are pretty awesome, think again.  These can cause very serious complications, including infections, tissue swelling, and disease.  They can also lead to tooth loss and gum deterioration.

Bottle Opening

Using your teeth as tools for opening bottles or potato chip bags, or anything else your hands aren’t strong enough to handle is a sure way to ruin them.  It’s all to easy to fracture the enamel, chip teeth, or crack fillings.  Those that split in half are often irreparable, meaning they will have to be pulled and replaced with implants.

Chewing on ice

This is a bad habit that eats away at enamel, leaving your bite more susceptible to breaks.  Instead of crunching on cubes, opt for a traditional glass of water to quench your thirst.

Athletic Injuries

Playing certain sports without a mouth guard can mean exposing teeth to potential injury.  Teeth can easily be knocked out and the costs to repair a damaged smile can be astronomical.

Cough drops

Sometimes you need cough drops or throat lozenges to combat the pain of an unwelcomed cold.  However, all too often, these are reached for far more than needed and left inside the mouth all night long.  The sugar in drops will eventually lead to tooth decay and cavities, which are far more painful than the tickle they were used to prevent.

Brushing after consuming acidic foods and drinks

These foods weaken enamel and brushing immediately afterwards will further erode the protective layer.  It’s best to wait at least thirty minutes before cleaning out anything left over in your mouth.  Who knew there could be too much of a good thing!


Again, when it comes to teeth whitening, there is such thing as too much of a good thing.  Some products irritate the gums and lead to increased sensitivity.  If these side effects do not go away, it’s best to stop bleaching altogether before there’s any permanent damage.

Protecting your teeth and practicing good dental hygiene should always be an important part of the daily routine, so you can continue to proudly flash that million-dollar smile!

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