There are many bad habits for your teeth. Most of them we do, day in and day out, without even being aware of them…or the impact they have on our health. Identifying which habits might be hurting your mouth can save you tons inexpensive dentist and orthodontist bills down the road.
10 Most Common Bad Habits for Your Teeth
Nail Biting. Nail biting is known as a compulsive habit, meaning that it is often repeated without a person even aware of what they are doing. Nail biting to some degree is common, especially in children. But it becomes a problem when done too often. Excessive nail biting can cause harm to teeth and gums, and pieces of ail Biting. Nail biting is known as a compulsive habit, meaning that it is often repeated without a person even aware of what they are doing. Nail biting to some degree is common, especially in children. But it becomes a problem when done too often. Excessive nail biting can cause harm to teeth and gums, and pieces of nail can upset the lining of the stomach if swallowed. Nail biting can also transfer germs that cause illness.
Brushing too Hard. Generally, brushing is a good habit to get into. But using too much force when brushing, with too hard of a toothbrush, can begin to wear away the protective enamel on your teeth. Dentists estimate that between 10% and 20% of the population have damaged their teeth or gums as a result of over brushing. Signs of brushing too hard might include receding gums, worn spots on teeth, or cavities at the base or root of a tooth.
Grinding and Clenching. Most people probably grind or clench their teeth from time to time, especially when anxious. But when grinding or clenching occurs too often, teeth can be damaged. Most grinding happens at night and is caused by an improper bite or crooked teeth. A telltale sign of such nighttime grinding is a dull, constant headache, or sore jaw when you wake up.
Snacking on Junk Food. The average American eats three times the amount of sugar per day than is recommended by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This constant snacking and soda intake can leave an acidic film that eats away at teeth and gums, and leads to bad breath.
Chewing Ice. There are many urban legends about chewing and ice and what it might mean. Doctors suspect it might have to do with iron deficiency, but the link is unclear. Nevertheless, constant ice chewing can erode tooth enamel, plus it runs the risk of cracking or chipping your teeth (plus any dental work, like fillings or crowns).
Using your Teeth as a Tool. Have you ever opened a bag of chips with your teeth? Or taken a tag off clothes? For some reason, when a person can’t get a purchase on something, he or she will turn to teeth as a kind of “built-in tool.” But doing so can easily crack or chip teeth, and the replacements might not be as handy.
Heavy Drinking. People who dependent on alcohol have higher plaque levels on their teeth and are three times as likely to suffer from permanent tooth loss. This likely happens because alcohol dries the mouth, preventing saliva from doing its job of cleaning the mouth and killing bacteria.
Using Tobacco. “Tobacco” use covers both smoking and chewing tobacco. Needless to say, there are many, many reasons to give up tobacco use. That said, it is an incredibly difficult habit to stop, with most people turning to prescription drugs, therapy, hypnotism, and other expensive treatments just to quit. One of the symptoms that prompt quitting most often are oral problems: bad breath, bleeding gums, sore throat and/or mouth, and yellowing teeth. Basically, any part of your body that touches the smoke is at risk.
Thoughtless Chewing. Most people have probably chewed on the end of a pencil or the tip of their eyeglasses when trying to think about something. Doing this occasionally presents little risk; but when it becomes a thoughtless habit, the chances of chipping a tooth increase. Inanimate objects can also carry germs that lead to illness or infections in the mouth.
Skipping the Brushing. Amazingly, few websites point out that lack of proper care is itself one of the biggest bad habits for your teeth. People often skip the brushing if they stay up late, go out with friends, or travel. But these are also the times when people are most likely to enjoy coffee, tea, wine, and sugary snacks…all things that stain or erode teeth if and gums if brushing does not occur.
Consequences of Poor Oral Health Habits
Chances are, if you engage in one of the above bad habits for your teeth, you are probably engaging in several. This compounds the problem. While one occasional bad habit might not hurt your teeth, several together can combine to create real trouble.
For example, many of the habits above can, in combination, lead to:
- Bad breath
- Dry mouth
- Gum disease (Periodontal disease)
- Missing teeth
- Mouth sores
- Oral Cancer
- Tooth decay
- Tooth erosion
- Tooth sensitivity and toothaches
- Unattractive smile
Visit The Happy Tooth for a Healthier Smile
If you live in the North Carolina area and would like to learn more about breaking these habits, download our New Patient coupon and visit us for a consultation!