We all have our habits. Some of them are simply annoying, while others can affect our relationships. Some can even affect our health. But besides the obvious effects of some bad habits, like junk food contributing to weight gain, some of our quirks can cause tooth decay and serious oral damage. We understand that it may be difficult to break some habits, especially if they’re deep-rooted, but it’s important to be informed of any negative health effects they may be causing. Learn from this article if you have any of these habits, and decide for yourself if it’s worth it to try and quit.
This is a common habit among many people, but nail biting is one of the worst habits you can do for your teeth. Nail biting is a nervous habit related to stress, and is often subconscious for many biters. Nail biting can chip away at your tooth enamel, and can even impact your jaw. The forward position your jaw is in when you’re biting your nails places pressure on it, and is often associated with jaw dysfunction. If you bite your nails, you can try using bitter-tasting nail polish which puts an unpleasant taste in your mouth every time you begin to bite your nails. Some nail biters even have acrylic nails applied to stop them from biting. Additionally, you may want to look into stress management tools like trying meditation to cope with anxiety and stress.
Brushing Too Hard
We recommend that all of our patients brush their teeth twice a day, but while this is a good habit to get into, brushing too hard can actually do more harm than good. Using a toothbrush with hard, stiff bristles or using too much pressure when brushing can wear away enamel, damage teeth, and irritate the gums. When your gums are irritated every time you brush, they are in a constant state of inflammation which can lead to gum disease and tooth decay down the road. Look for a soft toothbrush with the ADA Seal of Acceptance indicating proper pressure. When brushing your teeth, think of massaging them, not scrubbing them.
Grinding And Clenching Your Teeth
Grinding your teeth can cause damage by making them chip and crack. Unfortunately, many people don’t realize that they’re grinding. It happens mostly at night while they’re sleeping. When you grind your teeth and clench your teeth, you may experience tenderness in your jaw muscles and joint pain. You may also increase your occurrences of migraines, and may not be able to open your jaw all the way or chew without pain. These effects of grinding and clenching can really affect your life when it’s too painful to eat, and you’re in a constant state of discomfort. Try practicing relaxation exercises and get a nighttime mouth guard fitted to prevent grinding and clenching at night.
Cigarettes and chewing tobacco are two of the worst things you can do to your teeth. These major habits can heavily stain your teeth, and can even cause tooth decay that makes your teeth fall out. If that isn’t enough, tobacco can also cause cancer of the mouth, lips, and tongue.
Chewing Ice Cubes
Imagine for a moment what might happen if you were to press two glasses against each other. One would eventually crack and break. The same can happen to your teeth when you chew on ice cubes. Ice cubes are crystallized water and the enamel on your teeth is crystal. When you chew ice cubes, one of them will crack and break. Most of the time it’s the ice cubes—but eventually, it may be your tooth or a filling. If you love cold beverages, drink them without ice by chilling them in the fridge. Or sip beverages that have ice in them with a straw so you might not be as tempted to chew on the ice cubes. Just think of the consequences of chewing on ice, and you may decide that having a cracked tooth isn’t worth it.
Using Teeth As Tools
We all do it: ripping open bags with our teeth, holding things with our teeth. But that’s not what our teeth are made for. They are designed for chewing our food, and using them in these damaging ways can crack our teeth, stress our jaws, and increase the risk of swallowing an item we may choke on. The next time you’re tempted to use your teeth as a tool, stop and think about your oral health, and find something more appropriate to help you.
Don’t cause tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral damage with your habits. In addition to trying to break these habits, work on developing the good habit of regular cleanings and checkups with your dentist. The staff at Infinite Dental Wellness is more than happy to help you improve your oral health and keep your teeth strong and shining. If you have any questions, please contact us or request an appointment!