Dental Bites: 7 Habits That Damage Teeth
You may brush, floss, and visit your dentist regularly to keep your smile bright and healthy, but do you know what habits damage your teeth? You probably already know that snacking on sugary foods between meals is a bad habit, but some other habits that damage teeth are not so obvious. Is there something you’re doing every day that’s putting your oral health at risk? Here are some harmful oral health habits to watch out for.
1. Brushing Your Teeth and Gums Too Hard
Yes, it is possible to over tooth brushing. The American Dental Association (ADA) states that using a hard-bristled toothbrush or pressing too hard while brushing can damage your gums and teeth. To avoid this, use a soft-bristled toothbrush or an electric toothbrush.
2. Clenching or Grinding Your Teeth
Clenching and grinding teeth are often a subconscious habit, but it can result in damaged teeth, muscle pain and restricted jaw movement. To help prevent this harmful habit the ADA recommends relaxation exercises, a nighttime mouth guard and trying to be more aware of when the clenching or grinding starts.
3. Chewing Ice
After finishing a cool, refreshing drink, do you absentmindedly chomp on the remaining ice cubes? If you don’t want to risk a broken tooth or filling the ADA recommends drinking through a straw or taking your drinks without ice to help kick the habit.
4. Biting Your Nails
If you need an added incentive to stop biting your nails, consider the damage you may be doing to your jaw and teeth. According to the ADA, nail biting can cause jaw dysfunction because it causes you to hold your jaw in a protruded position for long periods. Nail biting can chip your teeth too. To curb this habit, try painting your nails with nail polish.
5. Sipping Sodas and Eating Sugary Sweets
Regularly drinking carbonated drinks can lead to eroded tooth enamel. Switch to plain water (Preferably fluoridated), milk, or tea. These can help to strengthen your enamel and protect your teeth from mouth bacteria. The ADA explains that eating high-sugar snacks between meals feeds the bacteria in your mouth that cause tooth decay. Eat balanced meals so that you’re less likely to feel hungry between meals, and if you do eat something sugary, drink plenty of water afterward.
6. Misusing Your Teeth
Whenever you hold something in your teeth or bite open a package, you’re risking injury to your jaw or a cracked tooth. Take your time with your task, and don’t use your teeth as a third hand or a pair of scissors.
7. Avoiding The Dentist
Along with these habits that damage teeth, avoiding preventative dental care (teeth cleanings) can also impact your oral health. It’s easy to tell yourself that you’re too busy for a dental checkup, or that twinge of pain you feel whenever you bite down will probably go away by itself, but don’t neglect to visit your dentist regularly. The next time you’re tempted to put off scheduling a dental appointment, make the effort to place that call.