Habits. This word might make you cringe, or you might think your habits aren’t really a big deal. Whatever side of the spectrum you find yourself on, any habits that are detrimental to your teeth are habits that you should immediately nix.
Not brushing or flossing aren’t the only bad dental habits that deter you from a healthy set of pearly whites. We’re unveiling the secret culprits to a not-so-healthy smile, and how you can kick those habits to the curb.
1. Nail biting
Probably the toughest habit to kick is nail biting. While nail biting can seem innocent enough and fairly harmless, regular nail biting can be incredibly harmful to your teeth. Continuous nail biting can cause chipped teeth and jaw dysfunction and impede your healthy smile efforts.
Using bitter tasting nail polishes can help break this bad habit. But, sometimes, nail biters still continue biting in stressful situations. Meditation, setting small, attainable goals and asking for help when needed can help you quit this bad habit.
If you’re a typically antsy person, keep your fingers busy another way and eliminate the urge to bite. Try picking up a hobby that requires the use of your hands, such as knitting or crocheting, building model airplanes, and so on.
2. Brushing too hard
Nearly everyone knows that brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes is not only highly recommended, but necessary for good dental health. However, brushing too hard can reverse all of the hard work you do to keep your mouth healthy. This bad dental habit can damage and irritate gums, which can eventually lead to gum disease or gum recession.
Make sure you buy a soft bristle toothbrush that has the ADA Seal of Acceptance. Think of brushing your teeth as a massage, rather than an intense scrub. Brush your teeth at a 45-degree angle towards the gums and use short strokes rather than long.
3. Grinding or clenching teeth
Stress and anxiety can lead to teeth grinding or clenching, neither of which are good for your teeth. No matter if it’s done at night, during the day or both, grinding or clenching your teeth can really wear down your teeth and lead to further damage.
Grinding or clenching can lead to more serious dental issues like Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMD). While stress is the leading cause of grinding or clenching teeth, it isn’t the only culprit. Abnormalities in the mouth or missing/uneven teeth can also cause this problem.
Talk to your dentist about a custom mouth guard you can wear at night when you’re struggling to control your mouth functions, and take part in stress-relieving activities such as an exercise program or meditation. Being aware of the issue is the first step, so concentrate on relaxing your jaw as often as possible.
4. Chewing ice cubes
When two hard surfaces repeatedly collide, one of them will eventually break. That’s what happens to your teeth when you chew on ice. While your teeth are strong, resilient and typically win when put against ice, they can chip or get irritated after contact with ice. Both issues can cause a great deal of pain. If you feel the urge to chomp, reach for some sugar-free gum instead.
5. Constant snacking on sugary foods
We all know that snacking on healthy foods throughout the day is a great habit to have, as it keeps you full and helps you avoid over-indulging. On the flip side, constantly snacking on sugary foods can damage your teeth and cause a whole host of problems.
While eating one sugary snack is relatively harmless, snacking on high-sugar snacks throughout the day can do some serious damage to your teeth. Sodas, sports drinks, gummies and hard candies are all guilty of leaving their mark. Having sugar in your mouth for extended periods of time can cause tooth decay.
Rather than giving into temptation and reaching for a Jolly Rancher, try snacking on healthy, all-natural foods. If you simply can’t resist and snack on sugary treats, make sure you brush immediately after indulging.
6. Using your teeth as tools
Ever pull a price tag off of an item or rip something open using your teeth rather than the nearest pair of scissors? Have you carried something in your mouth because you didn’t have enough hands to hold everything? You’re not alone.
This bad dental habit can lead to chipped or cracked teeth. Instead of using your mouth to open a snack bag, ask someone for help or find a tool that is appropriate for the task at hand.
If you’re guilty of any of these bad dental habits and think it’s time to see the dentist, then give West Chester Dental Arts a call today at 610-696-3371! We’ll get you scheduled and have your smile looking its best yet!