Your teeth play a vital role in how you smile, eat, and interact with others. As a result, it requires the best care you can give. But sometimes, we get carried away with simple oral hygiene like brushing and flossing and forget how some daily habits can damage our teeth. Now, while those habits appear harmless in the short term, they can have lasting impacts in the long run if you continue with them. Below are 7 daily habits that can harm your teeth and how to avoid them.
Grinding and clenching your teeth
One of the habits that can damage your teeth and cause cracks, chips, joint pain, and muscle tenderness is grinding and clenching your teeth. Now, we understand that most people do it while sleeping as a subconscious habit, especially in their sleep. This is actually a condition known as bruxism – mostly caused by sleep-disordered breathing or stress. Regardless of the form, teeth grinding and clenching can wear down your teeth and cause decay. It can also increase the risk of cavities.
Some signs of teeth grinding during the night include:
- Clenching the jaw during the day
- Damage on the inside of your cheeks
- Waking up with a dull headache or sore jaw
The friendliest way to reduce the risk of grinding your teeth while you sleep is to wear a mouthguard. A mouthguard is a device that fits over the teeth on one side of the jaw. As a result, it forms a barrier between the teeth. Apart from this, you can try stress relaxation exercises if the habit is related to stress. Include relaxation techniques like meditation, massaging your jaw, and taking a warm bath before bed to your routine.
Using your teeth as a tool
It is not uncommon for people to use their teeth as a tool to hold objects, open a can of drink, trim their nails, etc. That is what a pair of scissors or bottle opener is for – not your teeth. Habits like biting your nails can cause jaw dysfunctions or dental emergencies like a cracked or chipped tooth. Apart from this, it exposes your mouth to bacteria, and you will soon start experiencing pain.
The solution to using your teeth as a tool is quite simple – don’t. Use nail clippers, keys, a pair of scissors, object holders, but not your teeth.
Too much alcohol, beverage, and tobacco
Soda, beverages, and alcohol are bad for the mouth. Soda, whether sugar-free or not, is acidic. You are simply exposing your teeth to an acidic environment. On the other hand, alcohol dries the mouth and reduces saliva production – which is instrumental in washing away bacteria accumulation and removing plaque. Plus, bacteria are also acidic and wear the enamel. Too much soda and alcohol consumption leads to bad breath and increases the risk of cavities.
Certain beverages like coffee stain the teeth and make them dull and yellow. The same thing goes for smoking tobacco. Smoking is as harmful to your teeth as it is to your health. The reason is that smokers have a higher risk of developing gum diseases, loss of taste, oral cancer, tooth discoloration, and restricted blow flood to the gums.
Therefore, reduce your alcohol consumption or choose water. You should also talk to your dentist about available treatment options to help you quit smoking. To avoid teeth discoloration, drink with a straw.
Chewing on ice and sweet
Are you guilty of chewing ice cubes after downing a cool, refreshing drink? This habit can cause your teeth to chip and crack. In case you didn’t know, ice is a crystal, and your tooth enamel is a crystal. So, when you grind two crystals together, one will break. Most times, the ice does.
However, it is also possible for your tooth or filling to break. In the worst case, you can lose the entire tooth. Therefore, resist the temptation of chewing ice by drinking with a straw or avoiding ice entirely.
Apart from ice, sugary snacks and sweets are also bad for the mouth. So, if you find yourself always reaching for a bag of sweets, watch out. Sugar stays longer in the mouth and feeds acid-producing bacteria in the mouth, which can cause gum infection or toothache. Avoid consuming too much sugar, and drink plenty of water when you do eat sugar.
Brushing too hard or not brushing at all
Brushing is crucial to oral health. However, some people brush too hard to clean and remove plaque from the teeth surface. Contrary to the belief, aggressive brushing can cause gum irritation and enamel erosion. Not only this, but it can also increase teeth sensitivity and pain.
When you brush, avoid using brushes with hard bristles. Instead, use soft brushes and do it gently. Also, don’t forget to replace your toothbrush every 3 – 4 months.
Frequent snacking and incorrect use of toothpicks
Frequent snacking will leave leftover food particles in your mouth. Bacteria that form cavities feast on leftover food particles in the mouth and produce acid. This is often responsible for the erosion of the enamel of decay. Therefore, frequent and excessive snacking is not healthy for your teeth. Another bad habit is the incorrect use of toothpicks to remove food debris from the teeth after eating.
When you don’t use toothpicks correctly, you can scratch the surface of your teeth or cause enamel damage. Apart from this, shoving toothpicks deep within cracks in your teeth can cause gaps and shifts. Instead of toothpicks, use an ADA-approved dental cleaning tool or floss regularly.
Avoiding the dentist
All the habits we have listed above damage teeth. But do you know which is the chief of all? Avoiding a trip to your dentist – which, by the way, is the only way to detect dental problems and treat them early.
Go for checkups as scheduled, even when you don’t feel pain, and ask your doctor for advice on dental care. Contact us at Sbenati Dentistry London, Ontario for your general dentistry and cosmetic services. Don’t wait till the pain becomes unbearable, do something today.