When it comes to your teeth, you want to do everything you can to keep them healthy. While it seems every time you turnaround someone is telling you there’s something else you shouldn’t do, we’re discussing universal dental truths that will keep your mouth and overall health sound. So, take heed, these aren’t trendy suggestions, these habits are behaviors that dentists agree aren’t doing your teeth any favors. Take it easy and go at your own pace, but try and curb them as you can. After all, habits aren’t easy to break.
Many people, young and old, regularly bite their nails out of nervousness or boredom. It can be a calming mechanism. However, periodically biting your nails can cause your teeth to shift out of place, prompt teeth to break, and damage your tooth enamel. The germs also could potentially infect, or irritate, your gums. Further, there’s potential the bacteria on your fingers or nails could enter your bloodstream and cause illness.
For many, coffee fuels the day, but caffeine can contribute to dry mouth and tooth decay. It stains teeth and inhibits saliva flow. Additionally, if you add sugar to your coffee, you’re increasing the chances for cavities. Be sure you’re drinking enough water throughout the day to combat the effects of caffeine, and switch to decaf when you can. Changing to a sweetener other than sugar is a smart choice as is chewing sugarless gum if you can’t brush your teeth right away. It will help create saliva to wash away the build-up and debris.
Brushing too hard
Brushing your teeth twice a day is essential. But if you’re brushing your teeth too aggressively, you may be causing your mouth harm.
Aggressively brushing can irritate gums, often causing them to recede, and can erode tooth enamel. If your toothbrush bristles are splayed and worn down, you are likely brushing too vigorously. Bristles should lightly brush against teeth and gums without causing redness. A great way to help make sure that you’re not brushing too hard is to use a soft-bristled toothbrush.
If thumb-sucking continues beyond the age of 5, around the time when the permanent teeth begin to erupt, dental problems may occur. The frequency and intensity of the habit play a role, as does the duration of the activity. Factor these things in and there is potential for teeth to be pushed out of alignment, causing an overbite. Problems with speech sometimes occur as a result of mispronunciation. Also, the upper and lower jaws can be misaligned. When this happens, the structure of the roof of the mouth is compromised and can be malformed.
Clenching and Grinding
Clenching your jaw or grinding your teeth can be very damaging to your mouth. Often people clench and grind during stressful situations such as driving or during their sleep.
Teeth grinding, or bruxism as we call it, can erode enamel and can leave teeth exposed to decay. Jaw clenching can cause issues such as pain discomfort, leading to unfortunate outcomes like lockjaw and cracked and chipped teeth.
If you struggle with one or more of these habits, you aren’t alone. We recommend changing one behavior at a time. Would you like help to learn how? Please contact us or call us with your questions. We’d love to help you have the best smile and the best possible dental practices.