What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of bad dental habits? You might think of not brushing regularly, not flossing often, or avoiding the dentist. These are all bad dental habits, but other habits can damage your teeth and affect your oral health. Maintain your smile and oral health by following the below tips.
Your teeth are not tools!
Your teeth should never be used as tools to open a bottle, tear open packaging or holding tools while your hands are full. This habit can result in chipped teeth or fractured teeth. Doing this also places additional and uneven pressure on your teeth which can lead to gum issues. Always find the right tool to maintain your oral health and the life of your teeth and gums.
Grinding or Clenching Your Teeth
Do you find yourself grinding your teeth or clenching your teeth during the day? The dental term for grinding or clenching your teeth is bruxism. Grinding or clenching your teeth will cause damage to your tooth’s enamel and cause uneven and premature wear on your tooth’s surfaces. Many patients report grinding or clenching during stressful times. Finding a way to manage stress or anxiety may help with reducing grinding or clenching. Some people may clench or grind their need during sleep without realizing it. Waking up with a headache or a sore jaw may be a hint that you are grasping or grinding during sleep. In some cases, the sound of grinding can be heard by a spouse or partner. A custom-made night guard is another option to help reduce damage to your teeth and to preserve your oral health.
Crunching Ice Or Hard Items With Your Teeth
Many people crunch or crush the ice that comes with their drink using their teeth. Doing this increases your chances of fracturing or chipping your teeth. There is also increased pressure on the tooth to crush the ice which can lead to weakened gums. Things such as jawbreakers or hard candies should be avoided to reduce the chance of cracking or fracturing teeth.
Your dentist only gives you a soft toothbrush for a reason. With the proper technique, a soft toothbrush is all you need to get the job done. Using a medium or hard bristle toothbrush and brushing in a back and forth scrubbing motion will cause damage to your gums and can cause partial gum loss. This can lead to increased sensitivity when eating hot or cold foods.
Smoking Or Using Tobacco Products
One of the biggest negative effects on oral health is the use of tobacco products. Smoking causes staining on the back and front of the teeth. Smoking also increases the rate of bone loss in the mouth. It can double the rate at which bone is lost depending on the frequency of use. Boss loss in the mouth results in loose teeth which affect chewing and speaking. Over time, the loose teeth will fall out or need to be extracted. It is important to note that chewing tobacco is just as detrimental to oral health as smoking tobacco products.
Biting Your Nails Or Other Items
Nail biting is another habit that should be avoided to spare your teeth. Biting your nails can introduce bacteria or germs into the mouth. Biting or chewing on items that are not for consumption such as pens, pencils, etc. increases the risk of cracking or chipping the tooth.
Using Untested Products
While it may be tempting to try a new type of whitening toothpaste or product, be cautious. Try to use dental products that are endorsed by the Canadian Dental Association or the American Dental Association. Products that do not have the seal of endorsement have not been tested for efficacy. As well, any potential side effects from using these products may not be documented.
Swishing Acidic Drinks
One habit you should absolutely avoid is swishing acidic drinks around your mouth. Once acidic drinks make contact with your tooth’s enamel, it weakens the enamel and makes it prone to wear. Constantly bathing teeth in acids results in thinner enamel. Thinner enamel gives teeth a darker look because there is a darker dentin layer under the enamel. As the lighter coloured enamel thins, the darker dentin is more visible. Tooth sensitivity is another dental issue that sometimes occurs due to thinning enamel.
Not Using A Straw With Acidic Drinks
While it is best to avoid acidic drinks when it comes to preserving the health of your teeth, it is not realistic. Using a drinking straw when having acidic beverages helps to reduce the amount of acids that teeth are exposed to. Use a straw to have the acidic liquids bypass the teeth. Like mentioned previously, avoid swishing any acidic drinks around your mouth while using a straw. Examples of acidic drinks include:
- Carbonated water
- Certain fruit juices (orange juice, cranberry juice, etc.)
Constant Cheek Biting
Most of us have probably bitten or chewed on our cheeks out of boredom or stress at some point. However, frequent cheek biting can cause ulcerations. For some patients, this habit can increase the chance of developing precancerous lesions.
Not Dealing With Odors
If there is an odor that will not go away, it is a sign of an underlying issue. When regular brushing and flossing does not get rid of the odor, it is time to talk to your dental professional.
If you have any of the issues mentioned, contact us for a free consultation. We’d love to help you restore and maintain your oral health.
About Dr. Joseph Salvaggio
Located in Brampton, Ontario Dr. Joseph Salvaggio has been practicing general, cosmetic, and implant dentistry for over 20 years. He enjoys interacting with his patients and helping to restore their oral health for better overall health as well. Meeting new patients, interacting and educating them is one of Dr. Salvaggio’s biggest joys. We encourage you to read our reviews or call us with any dental questions you have. We look forward to speaking with you and meeting you soon.