Bad Habits and Your Oral Health
You’ve probably heard that if you want healthy teeth and healthy smiles, you should brush regularly and see your dentist twice a year (or more often and recommended.) All of that is certainly the case. It’s also true, however, or not true depending on what we’re talking about, that there are certain bad habits that can undermine your oral health even if you are brushing and making regular stops at the dentist’s office. So let’s talk about some of those bad habits and what you can do about them to improve your dental health.
Bad Habit #1: Brushing Too Hard
That brushing too hard is a bad habit surprises a lot of people. If brushing is supposed to lead to healthy teeth, then shouldn’t brushing with a great deal of vigor be even better for your smile?
Alas, no. Toothbrush abrasion leads to notching along the gum line and receding gums.
The answer to this particular bad habit is to use a soft-bristled toothbrush and resist the urge to scrub. Remember that it’s not how hard you brush, it’s how thoroughly. Plaque will come off fairly easily if you only take care to reach it.
You can also use an electric toothbrush. Electric toothbrushes are far less likely to give rise to tooth abrasion.
Bad Habit #2: Tooth Grinding and Clenching
Excessive tooth grinding is actually a recognized medical condition called bruxism. It can happen by day or while you sleep. It wears down teeth, can fracture dental restorations, and ultimately lead to sore muscles and jaw joint dysfunction.
When you’re awake, you can exert some control over the grinding and clenching. Whenever you think about it, make sure your lips and together and your teeth separated. When you sleep, you can manage bruxism with a night guard.
Bad Habit #3: Chewing Ice
Ice, or anything frozen, is hard, and when you bite down on it, you risk damaging your teeth just as if you were gnawing on a piece of stone.
The solution to this bad habit is simply to refrain.
Bad Habit #4: Using Your Teeth as Tools
Just as biting down on ice is risky, so is using them to clamp some hard foreign object. The consequences are apt to be much the same.
This is another bad habit with a simple solution. Go grab a real tool to do the job at hand.
Bad Habit #5: Nail Biting
Nail biting can cause wear and tear on your teeth and fillings.
If you have trouble conquering this bad habit through simple attention and willpower, you can get a bitter-tasting clear nail polish that will remind you of what you’re doing and apply a bit of negative reinforcement when you start to bite your nails.
Bad Habit #6: Constant Snacking
Constant snacking can make it difficult to maintain healthy teeth if you’re constantly taking in a lot of sugar or other refined carbohydrates. If you are, the bacteria in your mouth are in overdrive, continually producing acids that attack tooth enamel, which in turn leads to cavities.
The answer here is to choose nuts and cheese when you’re hungry for a snack.
Bad Habit #7: Sugary and Acidic Drinks
Soda and energy drinks are the worst offenders here, and that’s particularly true if you drink them all day. The acids erode tooth enamel and produce an environment in which the bacteria that cause cavities thrive.
The answer is to drink more water. If you crave a soda or an energy drink too much to do without, drink in one sitting and rinse your mouth with water when you’re done.
We at Comfort Care Family Dental hope you’ve found this information useful. If you’d like more advice on combatting the bad habits that undermine oral health or are in need of dental care, we invite you to contact us.