Our body is prone to a lot of bad habits. Some of which we don't even realize. These can have a huge impact on our oral health. Listed below are some of these habits that affect oral health.
Nail biting is a very common bad habit that can affect our oral health in a number of ways. It can damage the enamel of our teeth which leads to staining and decay. It also puts a lot of pressure on our jaw joints which can cause pain. If allowed to continue for a prolonged period of time, this can lead to temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). In addition, nail biting can cause bad breath by trapping bacteria in the mouth from food particles and saliva.
Using Teeth as Tools
Using your teeth as a tool when you open a package or remove tags from your clothing is a bad idea. This can break a tooth or damage dental work such as fillings, crowns, veneers, or bridges. Don't use your teeth as a bottle opener, either! This can lead to cracked or broken teeth and a damaged smile. Always use an appropriate tool for these difficult tasks.
Chewing Ice Cubes
Although many people enjoy ice in their drinks, chewing on ice isn't a good idea for several reasons. First, biting on something hard, like ice or hard candy, can crack your teeth. The cracks can be painful and may require treatment to prevent infection. Second, the cube of ice is usually cold, which will irritate the tooth enamel, causing pain. Any time you have extreme tooth pain, you should see a dentist as soon as possible so he or she can treat the problem before it gets any worse.
Eating sugary snacks between meals is one of the worst things you can do for your oral health. When plaque is left on the teeth for too long, it hardens into a substance called tartar. Tartar can only be removed by a dentist using special instruments because it begins to irritate the gums and can lead to gum disease – the leading cause of tooth loss in the United States.
In addition to the formation of tartar, eating too many sweets can also cause tooth decay in the pits and grooves of the back molars. Bacteria in the mouth feed on leftover food particles and produce acids that eat away at the tooth enamel. Over time, the sugars and acids combined can cause cavities to form. Cavities are holes in your teeth that can cause extreme pain. They can also lead to infections if left untreated. It's best to avoid snacking altogether, but if a snack is necessary, it's best to choose fruits and vegetables over sugary treats.
Thumb sucking is a common habit that can affect your child's oral health in a number of ways. Not only can thumb sucking cause the teeth to grow misaligned, but it can cause numerous problems for the jaws and teeth as well. Over time, the alignment of the teeth is thrown off due to changes in facial structure. This can cause spacing between the teeth and crowding in the mouth. Children who engage in this bad habit may eventually need orthodontic treatment to correct the misalignment of the teeth caused by excessive thumb sucking.
If your child is a victim of thumb-sucking, it's best to make an attempt to break the habit as soon as possible.
Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, is a bad habit that causes excessive wear on the teeth's surfaces. This condition is most often seen in adults but can occur in children as well. It's generally caused by stress or anxiety but can also be caused by an abnormal bite or missing tooth.
If your teeth start to appear shorter due to worn enamel surfaces, then it's time to come see us for a checkup and to discuss your treatment options. Severe cases may be treated with a night guard to protect your teeth and gums from additional damage.
Brushing Too Hard
It's never a good idea to brush too hard because it can cause damage to both your gums and teeth. Bristles are very strong and can irritate the soft tissue in your mouth and cause receding gums. This will eventually lead to sensitive teeth and exposed tooth roots at the gum line, which can allow bacteria to enter the root space and wreak havoc on the bone structure that supports your teeth.
If you do have sensitive teeth and gums, speak with your dentist about the best products for your mouth. He or she may recommend a soft-bristled toothbrush or an electric one that uses gentle vibrations to massage and clean teeth. Make sure to brush twice a day for at least two minutes each time.
Visit Georgetown Cosmetic Dentistry at 2440 M Street, NW, Suite 328, Washington, DC 20037, or call (202) 785-4141 to learn more about tips to maintain a healthy smile.