If you want white teeth, you have to take care of your tooth enamel. A hard, transparent covering that protects your teeth against stains and the environment, your tooth enamel is responsible for making your teeth look pearly white. Unfortunately, it isn't all that difficult to ruin your enamel or scratch it, and once it's gone, it's gone.

In advanced stages of abrasion and erosion, more dentin - the porous inner layer that's responsible for giving teeth color - is exposed. Since dentin stains easily, your only defense against stained teeth is your tooth enamel. Following are three habits that could destroy yours. 

3. Grinding or Rubbing Teeth Together

If you grind your teeth while you're sleeping or continuously clench your jaw and rub your teeth together, you can scratch your tooth enamel. Additionally, if your bite is a bit off, it could cause your teeth to rub together and cause similar damage. To keep from rubbing your enamel away, wear a mouth guard at night to keep you from grinding your teeth. During the day, avoid any habits that cause your teeth to continuously put pressure on each other. 

2. Chewing on Hard Objects

A lot of people chew on pen caps, paper clips, fingernails or anything else that's close by when they're feeling stressed. If you're a chewer, you have to be very careful about what you put into your mouth since hard objects can scratch your tooth enamel. Avoid chewing on plastic or metal objects.

Do not open packages or jars with your teeth. If you must chew on something to alleviate tension, pop some bubblegum into your mouth. If you always bite your fingernails without thinking about it, spray your fingertips with something that tastes bitter or sour to deter your nail-biting habit.

1. Brushing Too Hard

Vigorous brushing can also scratch your tooth enamel. If you brush too much or apply too much pressure while brushing, you could slowly sand your tooth enamel away. It's also important to use a brush that has been approved by the American Dental Association. In order to meet this standard, toothbrush bristles cannot have hard edges that will scratch tooth enamel. 

As you can see, there are many habits that can eat away at your tooth enamel, exposing the yellow dentin below. If you want to have white teeth, you have to take care of your tooth enamel as it's your first and only defense against yellowing and stains. To learn more, contact a company like Bristol Dental Group with any questions you have.