Bad Habits That Can Affect Your Smile

Bad Habits That Can Affect Your Smile

Posted by Distinctive Dentistry on Maitland Jan 29,2023

Our oral health is important not just for our appearance but also because of how it affects our overall health. There are some habits that can damage our oral health; here are some of them.

Not Brushing Your Teeth Regularly

If you don't have a regular brushing and flossing routine, you may be at risk of developing tooth decay or gum disease. Even if you do brush twice a day, you may not be doing it correctly. You should brush your teeth for at least two minutes at a time, making sure to get every tooth's surface and every crevice. You should also floss daily, using a strand of floss that is about 18 inches long to make sure you get all food particles out between your teeth.

Nail biting

A bad habit we might all be familiar with is nail biting! It is also known as onychophagia and can result in various oral concerns, including damage to teeth and even jaw problems. If you chew your nails, consider some alternative options to help break this nasty habit for good! These might include carrying around small stress balls or keeping your hands busy with activities like knitting.

Using teeth as tools

The bite force our teeth can generate is strong enough to crack or chip most foods. When you use your teeth to open packages or tear through plastic, you're putting your smile at risk for chips or other unexpected injuries. Avoid using your teeth as tools whenever possible to protect your smile from unnecessary damage.

Chewing ice cubes

While ice may seem like the perfect remedy for a sore tongue or mouth, it can actually damage your teeth. Due to the extremely cold temperature of ice, the enamel on your teeth can crack and chip away over time. In extreme cases, this can lead to even more severe tooth pain, expensive dental work, and even tooth loss. This habit can also contribute to headaches or jaw pain as well by causing teeth grinding or TMJ disorder. So the next time you're in the mood for something cold and sweet, reach for a cold beverage instead!

Thumb sucking

Thumb sucking is pretty common during infancy and childhood. However, when thumb sucking persists after the age of three, it can result in problems related to oral health. These include misalignment of teeth, speech difficulties, and bite problems. A habit that begins in childhood can persist for many years or decades if left untreated. This can affect both the aesthetic appearance of the smile as well as the health of the mouth. If a child has a severe thumb-sucking problem, they may benefit from the use of myofunctional therapy. 

Teeth grinding

When you grind your teeth, you're basically putting too much pressure on your jaw joints. This isn't just uncomfortable; it can also cause problems with your bite or even contribute to TMJ disorder. If you already have a habit of grinding your teeth, it's best to talk to your dentist about what you can do to help curb it. Some patients find using a night guard or mouthguard helpful in reducing the strain on their jaw joints. Others find that simple lifestyle changes like taking a warm bath before bed can help them relax enough to not clench their teeth while they sleep.

Brushing too hard

When we brush our teeth too vigorously, it wears away at the enamel and causes the gums to recede over time. The gums will then expose more of the root surface of the tooth, which may result in sensitivity and cause the tooth to be more vulnerable to decay.

Patients should keep the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle towards the gumline when brushing and gently move the toothbrush back and forth in short strokes. Long sweeping motions can result in the removal of the enamel and exposure of the root of the tooth.

To find out more about the dental services we offer at Distinctive Dental on Maitland, call (407) 830-9800 or schedule your consultation online. You can also visit us at 609 Maitland Ave STE 1, Altamonte Springs, FL 32701.

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Winter is a time when people try to have as much fun as possible. From holiday parties to snowy hikes, this time of year brings many opportunities for fun and adventure. However, there are also many threats to your oral health. ORAL HEALTH ISSUES DURING WINTER AND THEIR SOLUTIONS Is the weather cold, windy, or dry where you live? If so, you’re probably familiar with some of the common effects of winter on your oral health – such as sensitive teeth, chapped lips, and bad breath. Your dentist has seen it all before! Here are some pointers from your dentist to combat these issues. * Stay hydrated. Sure, it’s important to stay hydrated no matter the season, but in the winter, it’s especially important. That’s because the cold air dries out your mouth. What’s more, if you use supplemental heating in your home during the colder months, this causes the air to be even drier. That’s why you’ll want plenty of water on hand to sip throughout the day. * Protect your lips. Lips become extra susceptible to chapping during the winter months, so you’ll want to invest in a good lip balm. Look for one that contains sunscreen as well, as this will help prevent the sun from burning your lips once springtime arrives. * Keep up with your oral hygiene routine. Brush at least twice a day for two minutes each time, and floss at least once per day. This will keep your teeth clean and your gums pink and healthy. Stay on top of your daily habits, so your smile will stay healthy over the next month. * Schedule routine cleanings and exams. Just because the season changes doesn’t mean you should stop coming in to see us twice a year for regular cleaning and exam. In fact, you’ll be even more prone to developing oral health problems during the cooler months, so you’ll want to come in more frequently than you normally would. These appointments help us catch any problems before they have a chance to worsen and cause more pain for you. * Use a mouthwash: Your dentist may recommend using an antibacterial mouthwash this winter to help kill germs and bacteria that cause bad breath, plaque buildup, and other common winter mouth issues. Look for the ADA Seal of Acceptance before making a purchase. If you’re due for a checkup, don’t wait to schedule your next appointment. Call your dental office today to arrange an appointment at a time that’s convenient for your schedule. 


After reviewing 20 years of data in an aging study comparing individuals at age 50 and again at age 70 researchers concluded that cognitive function using the “digit symbol test” was in the lower range for 70 year olds with gum disease. During these studies other factors such as smoking and obesity were also taken into account. Even so there was still a strong association of lower scores for those with gum inflammation. This study spurred several other studies. In the UK, researchers were able to get live brain samples from 10 Alzheimer’s patients and 10 from non-cognitive impaired patients. Analysis showed that all 10 Alzheimer samples had P. Gingivalis bacteria present. P. Gingivalis is usually associated with chronic gum disease. The non- impaired samples did not have any of this bacteria present. This then led to another study with the time in 2014 using mice. Once gum disease became established in the test samples, the P. Gingivalis found its way to the brain in these mice. There is sufficient evidence that shows that some bacteria that cause gum disease are capable of motion. This means that they can hitch a ride on the red blood cells when the gums bleed while eating and/or cleaning your teeth. They have even been found to travel up the nerve endings from the tooth to the brain. Once in the brain, it is hypothesized using data from the brain chemicals released that the P. Gingivalis bacteria inadvertently damages the neurons that deal with memory. The good news, gum disease is preventable! Thorough brushing and flossing and regular dental cleanings will do far more than give you that pretty smile. Distinctive Dentistry on Maitland in Altamonte Springs specializes in general and cosmetic dentistry. If you want to learn more about gum disease and various treatments for it, please give us a call or contact us online today!

WELCOME TO Distinctive Dentistry on Maitland
WELCOME TO Distinctive Dentistry on Maitland

Welcome to Distinctive Dentistry on Maitland’s first blog! For over 40 years, we have committed ourselves to providing the best dental care for all our patients with integrity, compassion and a patient first attitude. Dr. Timothy Lane, Dr. Charles Curley, and Dr. Brett Zak have extensive experience in the field of general and cosmetic dentistry including implant crowns, veneers, and teeth whitening. Our doctors and hygiene team make it their priority to educate all our patients, young and old, on the importance of maintaining exceptional oral health through routine dental check-ups, home care education, and the meaning of healthy teeth for the rest of your life. As you browse our website, you will find extensive information regarding Drs. Lane, Curley, & Zak, their education, training and areas of expertise. We routinely utilize Intra-Oral Cameras and digital photography to highlight any dental concerns and recommendations. This will help you fully understand the course of your treatment.  Our team of seven hygienists have been part of our office for over 25 years, allowing you the security of knowing each visit will be a pleasant experience. Each hygiene visit will consist of a thorough cleaning along with x-rays and exams when needed. You can learn more about your hygienists by visiting our website at We invite you to call or email our office with questions you may have regarding your dental care. A team member will gladly answer your questions and help you get started with the first step to ensuring your smile stays healthy for life!


The mouth certainly is a complex environment. From the unusual forces we place upon it to the acid regulation that takes place, the teeth sure do take a beating! Below are some common causes of tooth structure being destroyed without decay being a factor. * Grinding wear – While we can certainly grind our teeth in the daytime most of the damage is done while we are sleeping. Forces while sleeping can be greatly magnified above our daytime ability. Ever notice the flattening in teeth? This is the result of grinding. This wear usually starts with the canines (eye teeth). Once enough tooth structure is worn away the wear progresses on to the neighboring teeth. Coupled with clenching this will not only wear the teeth, it also is a main cause of teeth fracturing, requiring crowns. * Abrasion – Caused by heavy tooth brushing with a back and forth motion or too firm of a toothbrush. Many times this starts where you brush first with a heavier hand and fresh toothpaste. Common first offended site is the upper left side. * Abfraction – Caused from very heavy chronic forces microscopic flecks of enamel and root structure are forced from the tooth surface. * Erosion – There are many causes of acid erosion such as high frequency soda drinking, bulimia and acid reflux (GERD or silent GERD). Highly acidic oral environments will cause any/all of the wear conditions mentioned above to happen at an accelerated pace. Erosion can also increase your chances of having sensitive teeth. All of these wear patterns are controllable and repairable, but best of all; future wear is preventable with intervention-the earlier the better! Your teeth can be protected from excessive forces simply by wearing a night guard. To battle the erosion it may be a diet change or treating acid reflux which will make your esophagus much happier too. Distinctive Dentistry on Maitland in Altamonte Springs specializes in general and cosmetic dentistry. If you want to learn more about gum disease and various treatments for it, please give us a call or contact us online today!


In a nut shell, cavities are a bacterial disease elevated by sugar intake. There are hundreds of bacteria that can form in our mouths. These bacteria join together in groups we then call “plaque”. Interestingly there are less than 10 bacteria varieties that are responsible for causing cavities. With so few bad bacterial types its amazing how much disease can take place! These bad bacteria for many can proliferate at higher rates than the good bacteria that work to maintain a healthy balance in the mouth. Just having bad bacteria in your mouth does not cause a cavity. In order for a cavity to form you need two components: bad bacteria and sugar. Any time a simple carbohydrate, which will break down into sugar, enters your mouth the bacteria feed on the sugars and produce 20-40 minutes of acid production that attacks and demineralizes your enamel. Does this mean that you can never have a treat again? No, although it is best to limit the treat food to mealtime and have a healthier between meals snack. Most important to remember is that each time you have a carbohydrate type snack or beverage with sugar or innocent hard candy, mint or sugar gum your acid clock restarts! For those of you that re frequent “snackers”, “sippers” and /or “candy, mint, gum poppers” your bacteria are at an all-day all you can eat buffet, keeping your acid clock running. So, what should you do to stop the cavities from forming? A great start is excellent cleaning on a daily basis, suchas using a Sonicare toothbrush and flossing or any aid to clean between the teeth. While you may not be able to control the types of bacteria your mouth wants to make, you can certainly control the amount of bacteria that stays on our teeth. The more bacteria present as we consume sugars equates to a higher amount of acids attacking our enamel. Fluoride treatments are recommended for all ages and best to follow up at home with prescription strength toothpaste dispensed by your dentist. Remember to have regular visits to your dentist. It’s always easier to repair a small cavity that a large one! To learn more about cavities or preventative dental care, please contact our Altamonte Springs office today at (407) 830-9800.


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