Habits That Can Damage Your Teeth And Oral Health

Posted by Kirby Smiles Jan 20,2023

This is a thumbnail image of blog Habits That Can Damage Your Teeth And Oral Health

Good oral hygiene is vital to maintaining healthy teeth and gums. Unfortunately, many people develop oral health habits that can harm their teeth. Listed below are a few habits that can affect our oral health.

Nail Biting

The habit of biting fingernails or chewing on other objects like pens and pencils is called "onychophagia" in the medical world. The habit may be a form of stress release for some people, but it can cause problems for your oral health.

Biting down your fingernail can cause damage to teeth by causing hairline fractures in the surface of your teeth. These small cracks can lead to pain and possibly infection if not treated properly. Biting down on something that's not food can also cause damage to the enamel of the tooth, resulting in sensitivity and weakening of the tooth structure. This could lead to the need for restorative treatments to be done to the damaged tooth.

Chewing Ice Cubes

Chewing ice cubes can damage your teeth. The cold temperature can numb the inside of your mouth, increasing the chances that you'll actually chew on the ice rather than letting it melt away on your tongue. This constant gnawing movement can wear down your teeth's natural enamel, leading to cavities, sensitivity, and other oral health problems.

In addition to the ice in your drink, chewing ice itself can also harm your pearly whites. You may notice visible indentations or fractures in the surface of your teeth if you've engaged in this type of activity frequently over long periods of time. Enamel is the protective outer layer of your tooth, so when it's compromised, it can lead to more serious problems down the road. This is why it is so important to protect your teeth from damage by avoiding these bad habits in the first place!

Frequent Snacking

The more frequently our teeth are exposed to foods and drinks containing sugar or acid, the more damage they will suffer over time. This is why we tell patients to try to avoid snacking between meals whenever possible. However, we know that this isn't always an easy habit to break. If you must snack, try to eat something nutritious such as carrots, celery, or other crunchy vegetables. These snacks help to clean your teeth naturally while helping you reduce a snack craving.

Thumb Sucking

Thumb-sucking is a bad habit that can affect a child's oral health by causing teeth to protrude and disrupt occlusion. Not only will this affect the aesthetics of a smile, but it can also lead to speech impediments when teeth are impacted too severely. Most children stop thumb-sucking on their own between the ages of 4-6 years. However, if this bad habit persists beyond that time, orthodontic intervention may be required to correct the malocclusion.

Teeth Grinding

Teeth grinding is an uncommon condition characterized by the clenching of teeth or the rubbing of the teeth against each other. Although the main symptom of tooth grinding may be jaw pain, it can also cause headaches, earaches, and damage to the teeth. If left untreated, it can eventually lead to tooth loss.

If you grind your teeth at night while you sleep, your dentist may recommend a custom-fitted mouth guard to protect your teeth. Also, try to reduce your stress levels by exercising regularly, meditating, getting enough sleep, and/or talking to a therapist. Consider quitting smoking, as well.

Brushing Too Hard

Many patients think they are brushing their teeth the right way, but the hard bristles of manual toothbrushes can cause much damage if used incorrectly. It's recommended to use a soft-bristled toothbrush and use light pressure instead of scrubbing back and forth with force.

To learn more about our dental services, visit Kirby Smiles at 3695 Kirby Dr. Suite 129, Pearland 77584, or call 281-941-5488.

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