Do you know some of our daily habits can damage your teeth and affect your smile? Here are some destructive habits that are harmful to your smile.
- Nail Biting
Nail biting is a bad habit that falls into many different categories. Some nail biters bite their nails out of nervous energy or anxiety, while others bite as a way to pass the time or relieve stress. Nail biting can increase the risk of infection in the nail bed and surrounding teeth. It can also weaken and fracture the nail itself. Your dentist can give you tips for breaking this bad habit as well.
- Using Teeth As Tools
One of the most common bad habits is using your pearly whites as a handy-dandy tool! Using your teeth for anything other than chewing food can lead to tooth fractures, enamel damage, or more serious consequences like tooth loss or a cracked smile. Tooth enamel is strong and can withstand a lot of force, but it’s not indestructible. So, be sure to use scissors, your car keys, or other appropriate tools to open packages and other containers.
- Chewing Ice Cubes
Ice cubes can be a tempting snack and soothing remedy for any oral discomfort you may have. However, chewing on ice cubes can cause problems for those that frequently do it. The hard texture of an ice cube can chip or crack your teeth over time. This can also wear down the enamel prematurely in many people. If you are someone who enjoys chewing on ice, be sure to stop it at the earliest.
- Frequent Snacking
Plaque and tartar buildup can increase the risk of tooth decay, cavities, and other oral health issues. If you frequently snack throughout the day or have trouble brushing away plaque after eating a meal, it can help to rinse your mouth with water to remove food particles from your teeth after each meal.
It’s also helpful to use a straw when you drink soda or other sugary beverages to reduce contact with your tooth enamel. Try to only drink water in between meals, so your teeth have more time to remineralize and cleanse themselves of food debris.
By visiting your dentist regularly for a professional cleaning and exam, you can remove plaque and tartar that have built up on your teeth over time. This will help to prevent serious oral health problems and protect your smile for years to come.
- Using Teeth As Tools
Whatever you do, don’t use your teeth as a tool to open things, cut tags off clothing, or rip open packages. Your teeth weren’t meant to be used for these things, and using them as tools can cause chips and cracks in your teeth that can be difficult to repair. Don’t put undue stress on your smile — use scissors when you need a pair of scissors.
- Thumb Sucking
Thumb sucking is a common habit that can start at a young age. It can impact the alignment of the teeth by causing the front teeth to stick out and creating a crossbite. It can also result in bite problems or TMJ disorder if the jaw shifts forward to accommodate the tongue pushing on the teeth. In addition, thumb sucking can negatively impact the gum tissue and lead to gingivitis or gum recession. The prolonged pressure on the gums can cause the teeth to become loose and even fall out. Once the habit is stopped, it may take several years for the teeth to regain their proper alignment. If the habit continues even after the permanent teeth have erupted, then orthodontic treatment may be required to align the teeth into a functional and healthy bite pattern. An orthodontist will be able to determine the appropriate treatment based on the child’s age, the severity of the problem, and other factors, such as the child’s maturity level and motivation to stop thumb-sucking.
- Teeth Grinding
Teeth grinding can be damaging to teeth. It can lead to enamel wear and instability in the bite. A nighttime mouth guard is often recommended to help reduce the risk of tooth damage due to grinding. Mouthguards can also help to reduce snoring caused by sleep apnea, which can contribute to teeth grinding at night.
- Brushing Too Hard
While brushing your teeth twice a day is recommended for good oral health, it’s important to use a soft-bristled toothbrush and to brush gently to avoid damaging teeth enamel. Overzealous brushing can wear down tooth enamel and expose dentin, causing sensitive teeth and exposing areas of tooth decay. A worn-out toothbrush may also cause gum recession. Your gums may be irritated by over-brushing as well. It’s important to pay attention to how your gums feel during and after you brush your teeth. If they feel tender or sore, you may be brushing too hard. So, brush your teeth gently using a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste.
To learn more, get in touch with Down to Earth Dental at 1407 W 29th St, Pueblo, CO 81008, or call (719) 546-0404 to schedule an appointment.