Taking care of your teeth is very important. Not doing so can lead to a number of dental problems. Habits such as smoking, teeth grinding, chewing ice, nail-biting, using teeth as tools, and aggressive brushing can cause damage to your teeth. Listed below are some of the most common habits that can damage your oral health.
Tobacco use has serious negative effects on your oral health. Not only can it cause oral cancer and tooth discoloration, but it can also increase your risk of gum disease and tooth loss. The chemicals in tobacco weaken your immune system, leaving your mouth vulnerable to infection and inflammation. Cigarettes also contain nicotine, which slows down healing after oral surgery and may even delay your bone growth, causing your teeth to be shorter and more prone to decay. Quitting smoking can significantly improve your oral health and quality of life. If you need help quitting, ask your dentist or doctor for resources.
Bruxism, or teeth grinding, is a bad habit that’s hard to break. If you’re prone to stress, you may grind your teeth while you sleep without even realizing it. Your dentist may fit you with a mouth guard to protect your teeth while you rest. The mouth guard acts like a splint to keep your upper and lower jaw from rubbing together, which can prevent wear on your teeth and damage your enamel. In addition to protecting your teeth, your dentist may recommend other lifestyle changes to prevent bruxism. Some common tips include eating a healthy diet, getting plenty of exercise and sleep, and avoiding alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine.
When you brush your teeth too hard, you can erode the outer surface of your tooth. Brushing too hard can also lead to gum recession, which can lead to sensitivity issues. It can also cause gums to pull away from the teeth and create a pocket that traps food and bacteria. Talk to your dentist about how to brush to avoid these problems properly.
Chewing on ice cubes is particularly bad for your teeth because the ice can crack your enamel. These small cracks in your tooth enamel can quickly turn into large chips and cause a need for restoration down the road. In addition to causing damage to your teeth, chewing on ice can crack your sensitive cheek and lip tissue as well. This can lead to discomfort or even painful sores if left untreated. It’s best to avoid putting items into your mouth that you can’t easily break down with your teeth.
Nail biting is a common habit that can cause tooth damage. Biting your fingernails puts a lot of pressure on your front teeth. Over time, this pressure can cause the teeth to chip or become misaligned. It also wears down your enamel and creates sharp edges that can cut your mouth.
There are numerous uses for your teeth! Eating is an obvious one, but do you know many people use their teeth to open packages of food, crack nuts, or rip the tape off boxes? Unfortunately, using your pearly whites as tools isn’t always wise. Biting your nails can chip or even break your teeth, and using your teeth to rip things open can result in cracked or damaged enamel. Your best bet is to always use scissors or other household tools to do these things rather than your teeth.
If you’re interested in learning more tips to take care of your oral health, call our dentist today to schedule a consultation. You can call us at (209) 554-1700 or visit our clinic located at 1317 Oakdale Rd Suite 310, Modesto, California 95355.