Skip to main content

5 work habits that can wreck your teeth

These workday no-nos can really take a toll on your oral health.

1. Using your teeth as tools

Don't tear off a piece of tape with your teeth, rip open packaging with your incisors or hold pins in your mouth.

Why not? You'll chip away at your enamel and risk breaking your teeth.

Instead use scissors or other tools.

2. Chewing on pens and pencils

Don't bite on your pen or pencil as you work.

Why not? You’ll wear down the edges of your teeth, potentially causing a toothache and fractures.

Instead snack on celery or carrot sticks.

3. Your daily cup of joe

Don't nurse your latte throughout the day.

Why not? You'll dry out your mouth, leading to bad breath and cavities. Plus, you’ll stain your teeth over time.

Instead choose green tea for a caffeine boost. If you can’t go without coffee, skip the sugar and follow it with a glass of water.

4. Taking a smoke break

Don't smoke cigarettes or e-cigarettes.

Why not? Besides causing lung cancer, smoking also multiplies your risk of oral cancer, tooth loss, gum disease and even cavities. Even e-cigarettes, which still contain nicotine, can harm gum health.

Instead ask your doctor for help quitting.

5. Skipping brushing during the workday

Don't wait till after work to brush and floss.

Why not? Plaque starts forming on your teeth immediately. The longer you wait, the harder it is to remove.

Instead brush after snacks and meals. If you’re at the office, keep a toothbrush, some toothpaste and a container of floss in your desk or bag to use after lunch.

Last updated December 21, 2021

The oral health information on this website is intended for educational purposes only. Always consult a licensed dentist or other qualified health care professional for any questions concerning your oral health.