Everybody knows that partaking in bad habits such as smoking, drinking soda, and constantly snacking on sugary treats will hurt their oral health. However, many other all-too-common habits can be just as harmful as those mentioned above. Below, the Orlando dentists of Thornton Park Dental Arts outlines a few of the most common habits that can negatively impact your dental health.
Brushing your teeth for two minutes at least twice a day, along with flossing, is one of the most beneficial practices for tooth health. However, brushing your teeth too hard, or using bristles that are too firm, will do more harm than good. Specifically, using too much force while brushing can lead to gum recession or cause infections. If a person’s gums frequently become inflamed, it’s a good sign they’re brushing too hard/using a brush with bristles that are too firm. Avoid problems caused by brushing too hard by investing in an ADA standard soft bristle toothbrush. Try to massage your teeth rather than scrubbing them.
Many people have an affinity for chewing ice cubes. Whether they do it because they’re bored or find it refreshing, chewing on an ice cube can be comforting and a bit addictive. Unfortunately, chewing on ice cubes can put teeth under a tremendous amount of pressure and potentially cause them to chip or crack.
Compulsive nail biting is a widespread nervous habit that’s unhealthy for a couple of different reasons. Nail-biting is a bad habit because of all the germs harbored under our fingernails, but it also endangers a person’s enamel and can cause teeth to become misaligned. Worse yet, biting your nails forces your jaw into an awkward position that may eventually cause jaw dysfunction.
Many people have an unfortunate habit of involuntarily grinding their teeth when they sleep or get anxious. Like chewing on ice cubes, grinding your teeth puts an immense amount of strain on your pearly whites. Eventually, constant grinding can cause teeth to crack or chip. Teeth grinding can even lead to issues such as temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. Prevent this by investing in a mouthguard to wear at night.
Aside from chewing food, teeth are not meant to be used as tools. Using your teeth to open a can/bottle, tear into a bag of snacks, or even hold something while your hands are busy is never a good idea. Misusing your teeth in this way will wear them down to the point you may eventually require dental implants. Don’t risk losing a tooth — only use your teeth for chewing food.