Everyone knows the dangers of not brushing your teeth twice a day or of skipping daily flossing. By not keeping up with everyday dental health, you run the risk of developing plaque or tartar and experiencing tooth and gum decay. But there are other bad habits that many people develop without even realizing it and which prevent them from maintaining healthy teeth.
Below are 6 common habits that may have negative effects on your oral health:
1. Biting Your Nails. Biting your nails is a common nervous habit, but it can have unexpected consequences for your dental health. Nail-biting can chip your teeth and also lead to jaw dysfunction since your jaw ends up spending so much time in a protruding position. Using bitter-tasting nail polish is one technique to help break the habit.
2. Using Your Teeth as Tools. Whether you’re trying to open a beer bottle or holding something in your mouth while your hands are full, using your teeth as a tool puts you at risk of cracking your teeth or injuring your jaw. To maintain healthy teeth, try to use the proper tool for each task and save your teeth and jaw from unintentional damage.
3. Brushing Too Hard. The harder you brush, the better the result, right? Not true! While it’s important to apply a certain level of pressure, brushing too hard can damage teeth, lead to enamel loss, or irritate your gums. If you are worried about brushing too hard, try using a softer toothbrush.
4. Grinding and Clenching. Grinding or clenching your teeth is another common nervous habit—and it’s just as damaging to your dental health as biting your nails. Grinding and clenching can cause chipping or cracking of your teeth and can also gradually wear them down. If you think you have a problem with grinding or clenching, try meditating or performing breathing exercises to relax.
5. Chewing Ice Cubes. Chewing ice cubes is a common and seemingly harmless habit. Nonetheless, it can erode your tooth enamel, damage your braces or fillings, and even lead to a chipped tooth. If you have difficulty breaking this habit, try using a straw when you drink an iced beverage.
6. Snacking on Sugary Foods. Many people enjoy snacking on sugary foods and drinks such as cookies or sodas. While a snack here and there might not seem like such a big deal, even a little sugar can hurt your oral health. When you consume sugar, it interacts with the bacteria in your teeth and produces a harmful acid. This acid eats away at your teeth and leads to cavities and tooth decay.
The common habits above may seem harmless, but they can cause lasting damage to your teeth and gums. In addition to maintaining a regular brushing and flossing regimen, good oral health means avoiding these six habits as well. By being aware of these potential pitfalls, you can be sure to avoid these bad habits and work towards having healthy teeth for many years to come.
Temple Family Dentistry has been delivering dazzling smiles for many years, and is here to provide personalized care for your dental needs. Schedule an appointment or contact Dr. Dan DeRosa for a tooth whitening consultation today.