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Bad Habits That Can Damage Your Oral Health And Smile

Posted by Legacy Dental Clinic Jan 20, 2023

Many bad habits can negatively affect your oral health. Habits like nail biting, using teeth as tools, chewing ice cubes, frequent snacking, thumb sucking, teeth grinding, and brushing too hard can chip or crack your teeth. Other habits, like smoking, can stain your teeth and increase your risk of gum disease. Read on to learn more. 

Using Teeth As Tools

Certain habits become second nature to us, and we forget that our teeth aren’t supposed to go through the motions we’ve become accustomed to. Although using teeth as tools to open packages or tear cloth tags may not seem like a big deal, these habits can actually cause damage over time. These habits can lead to tooth sensitivity, worn-down enamel, and even cracked or broken teeth. 

Nail Biting

Nail biting is a very common bad habit that’s unhealthy for not only our oral and dental health but for our overall health as well. It can cause teeth to become short, chipped, or even fractured due to uneven pressure being applied over long periods of time. It can also wear away enamel and soft gum tissue and even cause jaw pain from misaligned bites.

Nail biting can also cause discoloration to teeth and gum irritation if the nail is sharp or jagged. In addition to our teeth, nail biting can also be harmful to our skin and cause hangnails or infections, which will require treatment by a doctor. 

Chewing Ice Cubes

Although ice can be refreshing on a hot day or even help calm an upset stomach, it can do major damage to your teeth if you chew on it regularly. Your teeth are incredibly strong and durable, but they aren’t meant to withstand the extreme pressures created by chewing on ice.

If you often find yourself crunching on the ice at the end of a meal or snack, you’re putting yourself at risk for chipped, cracked, or broken teeth. These issues can not only lead to intense pain but also make it difficult to chew your food comfortably. Moreover, the damage that ice can create to your teeth can make it nearly impossible to repair your smile with restorative procedures such as dental implants or other tooth replacement options. Instead of chewing on ice, consider drinking beverages through a straw to prevent the ice from touching your teeth.  

Frequent Snacking

When we snack between meals, our teeth are exposed to sugars and acids that can cause cavities. If you are a regular snacker, try to consider snacking on healthy foods like cheese, nuts, fruits, veggies, yogurt, and whole grains.

Thumb Sucking

Thumb sucking is a natural reflex in infants and young children. However, it can have serious consequences on your child’s oral development. If a habit persists beyond the age of three, it can lead to malocclusion. A misaligned bite can negatively impact a child’s ability to chew and speak clearly. It can also affect their self-esteem. Fortunately, an orthodontist can provide effective treatment if persistent thumb sucking is causing misalignment of the teeth. They can also provide tips for breaking the habit. An orthodontist will provide guidance and solutions to common issues caused by bad habits like thumb sucking.

Teeth Grinding

Teeth grinding is also called bruxism. It’s when you clench your jaw or grind your teeth unconsciously in your sleep. This can happen due to stress or for unknown reasons. If you ever wake up with a headache or a sore face, teeth grinding could be the cause. Your dentist can catch it early on if you visit them regularly for checkups and cleaning. They’ll be able to spot signs like tooth wear or even cracked teeth so treatment can begin as soon as possible. If left untreated, chronic teeth grinding can lead to TMJ disorders and other problems. Talk to your dentist if you feel you may have an issue with teeth grinding. Treatments can range from customized night guards to Botox injections. 

Brushing Too Hard

When it comes to brushing your teeth, do you really know how to remove plaque effectively without causing damage to tooth enamel? Brushing too hard is actually one of the most common oral health mistakes people make! Many people think that by scrubbing harder, they are removing more plaque and bacteria from their teeth, but they are actually causing more harm than good. Toothbrush bristles are soft for a reason, so it’s important to focus on proper technique rather than trying to scrub your pearly whites clean. 

To schedule an appointment with our office, call 825-467-8888 today. We hope you’ll make us your regular dental care provider!

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