Good at-home dental hygiene is not all you need to maintain healthy teeth and gums. Numerous factors can contribute to teeth damage and poor oral health. These factors can increase the possibility of developing dental issues such as cavities, gum disease, tooth decay, oral infections, tooth loss, jawbone damage, facial sagging, and more. If you visit your dentist for routine dental checkups and cleanings, they will likely warn you about a couple of habits that could be damaging your teeth and oral health. Here’s a list of 10 everyday habits that are harmful to your teeth and oral health in general.
Nail-biting is common in children and is linked with nervousness. While it might seem harmless, nail-biting can cause your teeth to wear out, chip, or crack. Even worse, it can impact your jaw and eventually cause complications such as temporomandibular disorder TMD, a severe dental problem characterized by a painful jaw.
Similarly, your nails harbor dirt and harmful bacteria. You can practice stress management techniques like exercises and meditation or apply bitter nail polish to reduce this damaging habit.
While it might seem harmless, you can accidentally crack or chip your teeth or injure your jaw. It can lead to potential damages such as cavities, tooth decay, and even tooth loss, which might need a dental implant to replace. Keep simple tools such as scissors and bottle openers to reduce the temptation of using your teeth as a tool.
While chewing ice cubes might seem fun, the rigidity and cold temperatures of ice can cause damage to teeth and other dental restorations. To avoid this habit, drink cold beverages through a straw or drink chilled beverages without ice.
The mouth contains harmful bacteria that feast on the foods we eat. Overgrowth of these bacteria produces acidic chemicals, which erode the teeth’ enamel and cause decay. Avoid sugary and acidic items, and brush or rinse your mouth after eating.
Sometimes you might find yourself chewing on the tip of a pen or eyeglasses when anxious or concentrating on a difficult task, causing teeth chips, cracks, breaks, or jaw injuries. Also, these foreign objects carry germs, which can increase your risk of oral infections. To prevent this behavior, chew sugar-free gum.
Thumb-sucking is a common problem with infants. One effect of sucking your thumb is introducing germs and bacteria in the mouth. Also, thumb sucking causes overbites or teeth misalignments for adults and children above five years. It leads to the need for orthodontic treatments such as braces and Invisalign.
Bruxism is an involuntary disorder of grinding and clenching your teeth. It happens unconsciously, during the day or night. It can cause teeth chips, cracks, and breaks. To reduce the effects of bruxism, try lifestyle changes such as exercising and eating healthier. You can also visit a dental office near you for a custom mouthguard.
Brushing is essential to maintain excellent oral health. However, brushing your teeth too hard can cause gum irritation, enamel erosion, and tooth sensitivity over time. To prevent these damages, use a soft-bristled toothbrush and replace it every three months or sooner. When brushing, brush gently for about two minutes.
Smoking and tobacco products are harmful to your lungs and heart. Tobacco causes stubborn tooth stains and increases your risk of bad breath, gum disease, tooth decay, loss of taste, tooth loss, and oral cancer. For the sake of your oral and overall well-being, avoid or limit the use of tobacco products.
Excessive alcohol consumption is harmful to your oral health. For instance, high alcohol consumption leads to dehydration, which dries out the mouth and reduces the saliva needed to wash away bacteria in the mouth.
Eventually, this can lead to bad breath, cavities, decay, and gum disease. Similarly, the acidic nature of alcohol products erodes the teeth’ enamel, eventually leading to cavities and tooth decay. If possible, limit your alcohol consumption to one drink daily for women and two for men.
If you already have tooth damage from these or other harmful habits, visit a dentist near you as soon as possible for treatment. If left untreated, these damages can lead to gum disease, cavities, tooth decay, oral infections, and much more. Contact New Vision Dentistry to speak with our dentist in Citrus Heights for more information about dental care and treatments.