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7 Bad Habits That Could Harm Your Teeth

Posted by Hollander Dental Associates Jan 05, 2023

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Good oral health is important for overall health and well-being. However, some of our bad habits can do a lot of harm to our oral health. Listed below are seven of the most common habits that can take a toll on our oral health.

  • Nail Biting

Whether you bite your nails for stress relief or because you find the process relaxing, you can damage your teeth in the process. Your teeth could chip or become loose over time from biting your nails. To prevent damage to your teeth, try wearing gloves while you work or chewing gum to remove the urge to nibble on your nails. If your habit is severe enough, your dentist may fit you with a mouthguard to protect your teeth at night.

  • Using Teeth As Tools

Many people use teeth as tools to open packages or remove bottle caps. However, this can damage your teeth and lead to chipping or fractures. Your enamel is the strongest substance in your body and can withstand a lot of force. But over time, the constant pressure can wear down your enamel and cause chips and cracks to form in your teeth. Enamel cannot be repaired once it is damaged. If you have chipped or cracked teeth, you must get these chips filled or filled with a crown to prevent bacteria from reaching the sensitive dentin underneath and causing cavities.

  • Chewing Ice Cubes

While enjoying an ice-cold drink on a hot summer’s day feels great, chewing ice is not a good idea for your pearly whites. According to the American Dental Association, crunching on ice damages enamel and can lead to tooth sensitivity and even tooth loss. Rather than chewing ice cubes, try adding crushed fruit to your water for a flavorful twist!

Ice is very hard, so it can easily chip or crack a tooth when chewed on. In addition, the cold temperatures of the ice can cause blood vessels in the gums to constrict, which can cause pain and soreness. The cold temperature can also damage your teeth’s protective outer film, called enamel, leading to sensitivity and pain.

  • Smoking

Besides being bad for our overall health, smoking is terrible for our mouths. It can cause cancer, gum disease, and tooth loss. It can also stain your teeth and ruin your breath. If you’re a smoker, please schedule an appointment with us so we can work together to find a treatment plan that suits your needs.  

  • Thumb Sucking

Thumb sucking is a natural reflex for babies and young children. It typically begins in infancy, usually when a baby is about three months old and may last until the age of four. Thumb sucking is harmless for children when employed in moderation, but it can lead to other issues if it persists during adulthood. Sometimes it may lead to the development of an overbite, which would require orthodontic treatment later in life to correct. This habit can also lead to speech impediments. Additionally, prolonged periods of thumb sucking can lead to jaw problems and cause the teeth to shift out of place. The muscles in the jaw can become tense from constantly being clenched. This can lead to temporomandibular joint disorder, a condition that can cause severe headaches, ear pain, neck pain, and other uncomfortable symptoms.

If you notice that your child has a persistent thumb or finger-sucking habit that’s causing discomfort or misalignment of their mouth, you should talk to them about it and schedule a visit with your dentist. 

  • Teeth Grinding

If you suffer from teeth grinding or clenching issues, it’s important to visit your dentist regularly to ensure your teeth are healthy. Having your teeth ground down over time by constant clenching can be extremely detrimental to your oral health. It can lead to TMJ disorders, severe headaches and jaw pain, tooth loss, tooth sensitivity, and even fractures in the teeth. Although it may not feel painful at the time, when you find yourself waking up with a headache or sore jaw in the morning, what you’re feeling is the effect of your teeth grinding at night. This type of damage is often irreversible, which means it’s better to catch it early than to wait until you’re in pain.

A dentist will be able to fit you with a mouth guard to treat your nighttime grinding habit and protect your teeth from further damage. Mouth guards work by lightly cushioning the teeth to prevent the upper and lower jaws from meeting together abnormally. This takes the pressure off the jaw joints and the muscles in your face and relieves your pain. 

  • Brushing Too Hard

When we brush too hard, we wear down the enamel on our teeth and expose the underlying dentin layer. This layer of tissue is much softer than enamel and is more susceptible to tooth decay and sensitivity. It is much better to use a toothbrush with soft bristles to avoid scrubbing the teeth too harshly and causing damage. You should also avoid brushing immediately after consuming acidic foods or beverages that can soften the enamel and make it more vulnerable to wearing down. It is best to wait at least an hour before you brush your teeth after drinking soda or similar drinks.

Hollander Dental Associates, located in Carlsbad, CA, is equipped with the best dentists and modern technologies that enable the best dental care facilities for patients. Call us at (760) 434-2526 and schedule an appointment with the dentist in Carlsbad, CA, to learn more about dental treatments. 

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