There are two sides to the problem of oral decay that creates the need for reconstructive dentistry. One side is the oral hygiene side, which is how well you are taking care of your teeth and gums, including your home care and making your regular dental appointments. The other side is how you eat, which can contribute to how much you’re exposing your teeth to damage.

Here are 5 habits you should consider giving up if you want healthy and attractive teeth for years to come.

Constant Snacking

Constant snacking is one of the worst things you can do to your teeth. If you’re eating all day (or drinking liquids that contain sugar), you are giving oral bacteria a constant supply of food, which they then turn into acid that damages your teeth and make the environment more hospitable to even worse kinds of bacteria.

If you’re trying to graze throughout the day on the (mistaken) notion that it will help with weight loss, try to consolidate your snacks into mini-meals so you aren’t constantly eating. Then make sure to end your mini meal with a crunchy fruit or vegetable that can help clean your teeth then rinse with water. Don’t add too many excess tooth brushings, because this can erode enamel and irritate gums.

Drinking Soda Instead of Water

If you want to keep hydrated, have a glass of water or a water bottle on your desk. A soda contains both sugar and acid that can damage teeth. We’ve already talked about how to deal with acidic foods, but this is an important point that bears repeating.

Starting Your Day with Coffee or Tea

It’s an unfortunate fact of American life that we’re all so tired and not getting enough sleep that we are very dependent on our morning caffeine to get us going at the start of the day. Unfortunately, that caffeine comes with a cost: dark compounds in these beverages can stain your teeth. It’s even worse if you like your coffee or tea with sugar, because this feeds oral bacteria. And of course getting your caffeine from cola or an energy drink is even worse, because they not only contain sugar and staining compounds: they’re highly acidic, too.

Fortunately, KöR Whitening is very good at removing these stains.

Washing Down Hot Foods with a Cold Drink

We know how nice it is to pair a cold beer or soda with a hot meal, but this can be very damaging to your teeth. Heat makes your teeth expand, and cold makes them contract, but because our teeth are made of a natural ceramic, they’re not able to expand and contract well with these changes, which can lead to the creation of tiny fractures in the teeth.

Finishing Your Meal with Dessert

The last thing you eat is the one that’s most likely to linger in your teeth longest. This can be especially bad if you finish with a cake that has sticky starches, or caramels that are sticky sugar, which can linger on your teeth for a long time.

To avoid this, follow your meal with some sugar-free chewing gum, a crunchy fruit or vegetable, or a thorough rinse with water, followed by a toothbrushing after a short wait.

You can even embrace the popular aphorism: “Live is uncertain, eat dessert first!”