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Healthy Habits That Can Backfire



Your healthy habit: Obsessively brushing your teeth

How it can backfire: While it may seem like a good idea to brush after every meal, doing so could actually weaken your teeth. Consuming acidic foods and sugary beverages can erode tooth enamel, according to the International Dental Health Foundation, and brushing directly after eating can cause little pieces of enamel to be brushed away, eventually leading to tooth decay.

Instead: Stick to regular AM and PM brushings. To freshen up midday, swish mouthwash or chew sugar-free gum; chewing gum cues saliva production, helping to keep harmful bacteria at bay.

By Natalie Gingerich Mackenzie, published September 6, 2011. Natalie is a health and fitness writer, runner, and ACE-certified personal trainer based in Syracuse, New York.
Reviewed by Joseph Sclafani, MD on April 10, 2015.