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Bad Habits That Can Damage Oral Health

Posted by Dawkins Family Dental on Nov 16 2022, 08:27 PM

Many adults have poor oral habits that can damage their teeth and gums. Habits like smoking, teeth grinding, and chewing ice are all bad for your oral health. Other habits like nail biting, using your teeth as tools, and aggressive brushing can also damage your teeth. Here is how these habits can affect our oral health. 

  • Smoking

Smoking is one of the worst things you can do to your mouth. Not only can it cause cancer, but it can cause a lot of oral health issues as well. It can lead to oral cancer and a buildup of plaque and tartar. Your gums may be stained by nicotine and you may also notice a loss in taste. The chemicals present in cigarettes can also have a damaging effect on your enamel. Smokers tend to get more cavities than non-smokers.

You can also experience tooth discoloration from smoking. Many smokers have yellow or brown stains on their teeth that are difficult to remove with whitening toothpaste. These stains can make your teeth look dirty even when they’re not. Tobacco may also make you more likely to develop gum disease, which can also cause bad breath because it often causes gum recession. Gum disease can affect the bone that holds your teeth in place and eventually can cause tooth loss if you’re not proactive about treatment.

If you smoke and want to quit, talk to your dentist about a smoking cessation program. There are also several FDA-approved medications that can help you quit smoking. 

  • Teeth Grinding and Clenching

Your dentist can recommend a nightguard to protect your teeth from the effects of bruxism, or nighttime teeth grinding. Wearing a nightguard can help prevent cracks and chips in enamel, as well as jaw pain from clenching so hard. It will also preserve your natural tooth alignment, preventing the need for orthodontic care in the future.

In addition to wearing the nightguard nightly, it is also helpful to practice stress reduction techniques like yoga, meditation, and exercise. Reducing your stress levels will help reduce both the symptoms of stress and the likelihood of grinding and clenching your teeth while under stress.

If you grind your teeth during the day, be sure to let your dentist know. He or she may recommend an occlusal guard to prevent you from damaging your teeth.

  • Chewing ice

Many people chew ice to remove food and freshen their breath. Although chewing ice is not harmful when done in moderation, it can damage your teeth by wearing out your tooth enamel and causing sensitivity. 

  • Nail Biting

When you bite your nails, you’re resulting in damaged enamel that can leave your teeth looking yellowed or discolored. In addition to discoloration, you can also experience gum recession. Gum recession occurs when the tissue that surrounds a tooth pulls away or wears down, leaving the root surface exposed. This type of damage can make your teeth look longer, which can cause problems with eating, speaking, and even smiling.

  • Using Teeth As Tools

When you’re trying to use your teeth to open a bottle or crack nuts, you’re putting your oral health at risk. Teeth are incredibly strong – even stronger than bones. But they’re also delicate and need to be treated with care to avoid chipping, breaking, or cracking. One wrong move and you could end up with a damaged smile. Instead of attempting to use your teeth as a tool to open containers or take a bite out of something hard, avoid doing it altogether! Instead, find another way to get the job done without damaging your teeth.

  • Aggressive Brushing

Your toothbrush bristles need to stay in good shape in order to effectively remove plaque and debris from your teeth. When you brush too vigorously, the bristle tips wear down over time and become less effective at cleaning your teeth. This condition is referred to as toothbrush abrasion and can lead to gum disease and other oral health issues. To avoid this issue, consider modifying your brushing habits in a way that doesn’t lead to this problem. Brushing too hard or with a stiff-bristled toothbrush can result in this condition. If you feel sensitivity in your gums after brushing, you’re probably brushing too aggressively. Instead, use a softer toothbrush and try to alternate between a soft- and hard-bristled brush to keep your gums healthy. Give us a call to talk about your oral health in more detail. We’ll work with you to develop an effective oral hygiene regimen to keep your smile looking and feeling great for years to come!

We encourage you to discover ways to achieve a healthy smile. For comprehensive dental care, visit Dawkins Family Dental at 440 N Lamar Blvd, Oxford, MS 38655. Call us at (662) 234-5725 for appointments.

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