Bad Habits That Can Affect Your Oral Health

Bad Habits That Can Affect Your Oral Health

Posted by Dr. Kossi on Jan 15 2023, 10:49 PM

Bad Habits That Can Affect Your Oral Health

Oral health is not just about pearly white teeth. Your mouth is the gateway to your overall health. However, there are many habits that can damage our oral health. Here are some of them.

Nail Biting

Nail biting is a habit that can begin early in childhood and lasts into adulthood for some people. It's estimated that nearly 40 percent of children and 10 percent of adults bite their nails on a regular basis. Although nail biting may seem harmless, it can lead to serious oral health consequences such as chipped or broken teeth, receding gums, tooth sensitivity, and an increased risk of infection.

Nail biting can irritate the sensitive gum tissue that surrounds the teeth and lead to gum recession over time. This recession can lead to tooth sensitivity and increase the risk of tooth decay. Nail biting can also disturb the proper alignment of the teeth and cause misalignment issues. Misalignment of the teeth may cause jaw pain and/or TMJ disorder. If an individual clenches his or her teeth while biting his or her fingernails, he or she may also be at risk for temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMD). TMD can cause severe jaw pain and often makes it difficult for an individual to open and close the mouth normally. Individuals who are chronic nail biters should make an effort to break the habit by practicing positive habits like maintaining a healthy diet, exercising regularly, using stress-relieving techniques, and avoiding boredom or loneliness.

Using Teeth As Tools

Many people use their teeth to open packages, rip the tape off boxes, or bite down on other objects when they're in a pinch. Unfortunately, this habit can cause serious damage to our teeth over time. When we use our mouths as tools, we subject them to a lot of stress and strain, which can result in chipped or cracked teeth. This can also cause TMD and TMJ disorders that make it difficult to enjoy daily life.

Instead of biting down on things when you're in a hurry, try using scissors to cut open boxes and packages instead of your teeth to prevent chipping or other damage.

Frequent Snacking

Snacking throughout the day – even healthy choices like almonds and fruit – can contribute to tooth decay. That's because the acid in these foods can weaken the enamel on your teeth, making them more susceptible to decay. To help protect your teeth from the constant assault of decaying food particles, consider eating three larger meals a day with healthy snacks. For instance, enjoy an apple as an afternoon snack instead of a bag of chips. Or pack some raw vegetables or sliced fruit for an easy, on-the-go snack. And always be sure to drink plenty of water in between meals to help wash away the food debris and neutralize the acids in your mouth. 

Teeth Grinding

Many people grind their teeth or clench their jaw while they sleep, which can weaken teeth and lead to TMJ disorders. The condition can be treated with night guards from your dentist that can be worn while you sleep and help keep your teeth in the proper position. Be sure to tell your dentist if you're waking up with a sore jaw or if you notice that your teeth are feeling more sensitive than usual. He or she can help you determine the best treatment plan for you, which may include customized mouthguards.

Brushing Too Hard

One of the most common habits that can damage our teeth is brushing too hard. Everyone should brush twice a day for two minutes at a time, using a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. However, brushing too hard can cause enamel erosion and gum recession. Enamel is the hard outer layer of a tooth that protects the inner layers of the tooth from decay and damage. The gums sit directly under the enamel layer of the teeth, so if they are damaged, it can lead to gum disease and tooth loss.

While it may be tempting to get your teeth extra clean, it's important to avoid aggressive tooth brushing as it can cause significant damage to your teeth. If you are not sure if you are brushing hard enough, ask your dentist if you should be using an electric toothbrush or opt for a gentler manual toothbrush.

Schedule a consultation with Dr. Kossi, DDS, at Smile City Dental in Santa Clarita, California, to learn more tips for maintaining a healthy smile this upcoming year. You can reach us by calling (661) 252-8888, scheduling an appointment online, or visiting us at 19366 Soledad Canyon Rd, Santa Clarita, CA 91351 now.

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