We all know that we need to brush twice a day and floss once. But even if you are really good about that, there may be some bad habits about that process you haven’t considered:

Don’t use a hard-bristled brush

Don’t brush with horizontal strokes–these could actually damage gums and wear down enamel.
Don’t brush or floss too quickly–you need to take two full minutes after, ideally, breakfast and dinner, and careful flossing that remove sticky food particles from the sides of teeth./span>
But there are other bad habits that may be more surprisingly harmful:/span>

Have you had your tongue or mouth pierced?

Any wound can harbor bacteria, which thrive in warm, moist areas. Piercings can also damage gums and teeth. Keep the sites clean and check regularly that there are no infections.

Using sugary cough drops. They dissolve slowly and are full of sugar, which coats the teeth and erodes the enamel, causing cavities. Use sugar-free drops.

Eating sticky candy. Gummies, chocolates, gum, caramels, jelly beans and others get into crevices and are hard to clean off adequately. If you indulge, try to get sugar-free versions and brush and floss after.

Drinking sodas. These are high in phosphoric and citric acids that erode enamel. If they have sugar, the bacteria will feast on it unless you wash out your mouth with water afterwards.

Drinking fruit juice. Fruit drinks are high in natural sugar, which sticks to teeth and creates cavities or can result in a bacterial film that ultimately causes the gums pulling away from the teeth they support. Citrus juices are especially high in acid. Drink water when thirsty (perhaps with a little juice for flavor).

Frequent snacking. This allows the food to stick to the teeth and gum for hours before cleaning and high-starch foods like potato chips are breeding grounds for periodontal bacteria. Try healthy munchies like carrots and apples that also clean the teeth.

Drinking coffee. Caffeine causes the mouth to be dry, while saliva is an anti-bacterial. If you do need it, use an alternative sweetener to sugar.

Drinking wine. Red wine is well-known to stain deeply, but it also contains substances that erode enamel (white wine is even worse in this regard). Eat some cheese to neutralize some of the negative effects and drink water afterwards.

Smoking yellows teeth and causes dry mouth, increasing the risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Tobacco also increases the chances of having oral cancer.

Using your teeth to open or hold anything. If you have the habit of pulling on clothing or opening packages with your teeth, you may cause them to chip or fracture. Trying to remove a bottle cap could result in damage to teeth and dental work.