All of us have some good habits as well as bad habits. While some of these habits can improve our smile, some of them can cause tooth damage and decay. Read on to learn about these habits and how they can affect your smile.
Nail biting is a common bad habit that people perform without even realizing it. Even though many men and women bite their nails as a nervous habit or when they are bored, nail biting can wreak havoc on your dental health and appearance. If you regularly bite your nails, it can lead to chipped or broken teeth as well as infections in the gum tissues. Your dentist may need to repair your broken or cracked teeth with dental crowns or inlays and onlays, which can be costly. In addition, the enamel of your teeth is likely to suffer damage over time due to the habit of nail biting. In addition to damaging your teeth and gums, nail biting can also lead to tooth misalignment issues. If left untreated, this could result in the need for orthodontic care to correct the problem.
Chewing Ice Cubes
This habit can cause cracked teeth or fillings and expose your teeth to sugar. The ice will also scrape at the enamel of your teeth and wear down your dental work. It’s best to just avoid chewing on ice altogether!
Patients are often surprised to learn that their eating habits can affect the health of their mouths. While snacking is usually a good thing for your energy levels and metabolism, it can have a negative impact on your teeth if done too often or with the wrong foods. Instead of snacking on chips or other starchy foods, choose nutrient-dense foods like yogurt and fresh produce. This will help keep your mouth clean while also providing your body with the nutrition it needs to stay healthy.
Thumb sucking is a common habit that many children develop. It can start as early as the newborn period and end when a child is about four years old because thumb sucking can affect the development of adult teeth. If your child is still sucking his or her thumb into early childhood, visit a dentist for a checkup and to ask about how to break the habit. Many children stop on their own without any need to undergo intervention from a physician or dentist.
If your child continues thumb-sucking beyond the age of four, talk to your dentist about possible treatments to help break the habit. Sometimes using a prescribed medication can help; other times, therapies such as hypnosis can be effective. If the child has an anxiety condition that causes him or her to suck his thumb on a regular basis, this will need to be treated separately through other therapies.
Many people grind their teeth at night without even realizing it. It’s an involuntary action – and can cause wear and tear on the teeth over time. It can also affect how the top and bottom teeth fit together, resulting in jaw pain and even headaches. If you grind your teeth while you sleep, wear a nightguard while sleeping to protect your teeth and your health.
Brushing Too Hard
Many people believe that brushing harder and faster is better for their teeth because they feel like it’s removing more plaque and leftover food particles from their mouth. But in reality, it could damage your teeth. If you brush too hard, you can erode your tooth enamel or even wear away your gums. Your tooth enamel is the thin outer coating of your teeth, so you want to be careful not to brush it away. Once it’s gone, it cannot grow back, so make sure you pay attention to how hard you’re brushing.
This can also happen if you’re using a toothbrush with hard bristles. Toothbrushes with medium and hard bristles can wear down your enamel even more, so you might want to switch out your toothbrush for one with soft bristles. You can also switch to an electric toothbrush that doesn’t have a bristle head at all and instead uses vibrations to brush your teeth.
To learn more about good oral care practices, get in touch with Dr. Steven Go of OC Dental Arts by calling us at (714) 779-7700.