Risky Dental Habits to Ditch


Maintain a healthy smile by ditching these unhealthy habits.

It is never too late to start bettering yourself. Many individuals focus on improving their eating or fitness to try to live a healthier lifestyle. However, focusing on breaking a few poor oral habits could benefit your overall wellness and keep your smile healthy.

Chewing on Ice: It is a common habit to chew on ice after enjoying a cold beverage. It may seem harmless, but chewing on ice can inflict a significant amount of damage to the teeth. Chipping or cracking the teeth is a common consequence of ice chewing. It only takes one wrong bite to break one of the molars, resulting in intense pain and an emergency dental visit. 

If you are inclined to chew ice, chill the beverage in the fridge before you drink it. Drinking iced drinks through a straw can also help avoid the temptation of biting down on the ice. 

Biting Nails: Nail biting is often a nervous or mindless habit that many individuals develop. This tendency can be harmful for a variety of reasons. Not only is nail chewing a perfect opportunity to put harmful germs in your mouth, but it also puts you at risk for chipping teeth. If you are a regular nail-biter, your teeth can shift due to the consistent pressure put on the same teeth. Additionally, the jaw can develop a TMJ disorder from the excess strain being put on it. 

If you are looking to kick this habit, there are a variety of clear, bitter-tasting nail polishes available at drug stores. Some people find spending a little extra time taking care of their nails, like investing in a manicure, is enough motivation to keep their nails intact.

Brushing too Hard: Brushing your teeth twice a day is essential to maintaining healthy teeth and gums. However, brushing with the proper technique is just as crucial. Brushing too hard can wear down the tooth enamel, and make the teeth more susceptible to decay, damage, and sensitivity. Aggressive brushing can also provoke gum recession, which can cause discomfort, bone destruction, and even tooth loss. 

Brushing your teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush helps avoid accidental damage to your smile. Try not to scrub your teeth, but instead gently massage them. This will adequately remove plaque and prevent weakening the enamel. 

Using Teeth as Tools: Teeth are not tools! They are meant for chewing, speaking, and smiling, not opening bottles, tearing packages, or carrying objects. Using your teeth for any of these activities can put you at risk for permanent tooth or jaw damage. It may seem easier to just use your teeth, rather than just take the time to find scissors to open a package, but the risk is simply not worth it. 

Find the proper tool to perform these tasks. It will not only keep your teeth safe but will execute the task much better than your pearly whites can.  

Snacking: Constantly eating throughout the day is not good for your teeth, especially if you are snacking on foods or drinks with high sugar contents. Frequently having food particles on the teeth puts you at a higher risk of cavities because the bacteria will eat these particles and produce an acid that attacks the tooth’s enamel. 

Try to eat balanced, low-sugar meals to keep yourself fuller for longer. It is okay to periodically have a sugary treat, but make sure to drink plenty of water afterward to wash away the excess food particles. 

Clenching and Grinding Teeth: Teeth grinding or clenching can cause the teeth to chip, crack, and wear down faster than normal. This tendency can also damage the jaw joints, potentially causing a TMJ disorder. Teeth grinding at night can be harder to identify, but if you are waking up with a sore jaw or are experiencing tension headaches, you may be grinding your teeth. 

Make an appointment with your dentists if you suspect you are grinding your teeth. If you tend to grind your teeth at night, a custom mouthguard can prevent damage. Daytime teeth clinchers can sometimes break the habit by just being aware and making an active effort to stop clenching when they notice they are doing it. 

You only get one set of permanent teeth, make sure you protect them. Ditching these risky habits will help keep your teeth in great shape and prevent expensive dental procedures in the future. 

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