Everyday Bad Habits that Can Harm Your Teeth
When it comes to dental health, the most commonly offered advice typically includes brushing and flossing daily and visiting a dentist regularly. While these habits will help to protect the health of teeth and gums, there are many common daily habits that can harm teeth and threaten oral health, undermining those efforts. Being aware of these habits can help patients to avoid injuries and damage that may harm your teeth and require costly and time consuming procedures to repair.
Grinding or Clenching Teeth
Clenching and grinding teeth are common nervous habits that may be done during the day or while sleeping at night. These habits can cause wear on the teeth over time, fractures, pain in the teeth and jaws, and lose teeth. Patients should make a conscious effort not to clench or grind the teeth while awake. If clenching and grinding are nighttime habits, patients may be able to acquire a mouth guard to prevent damage.
Sipping Sugary Drinks
Continuously sipping soda, coffee, and other sugary beverages allows sugar to accumulate and harden on the teeth. This can make it difficult to remove the sugar, allowing it to build up and stay on the teeth for extended periods of time, which can threaten gum health and erode tooth enamel. To prevent the sugary build up, sweet beverages should be finished in fifteen minutes or less and followed up with water.
The hard surface of ice can cause damage to teeth and gums. Chewing on ice can cause chips and fractures in the teeth. The motion of chewing the ice can also irritate the gums and irregular corners of the ice can puncture gums and cause injuries. Patients should avoid chewing ice or any other hard substance, such as candy.
Using Teeth as Tools
Teeth are often used to open bottles, bags, pull tags from clothing, snip thread, and cut tape. All of these activities threaten the integrity of teeth and can cause chips and cracks. Teeth can also become loose and the gums can become injured if any of the actions goes wrong. Additionally, the mouth can be exposed to viruses and bacteria that may be present on the items, increasing the risk for infections and illness. Teeth should only be used for eating.
Biting or Sucking on Objects
These habits start early with pacifiers and fingers, but can continue through adulthood with pens, sunglasses, and other objects. Sucking and biting non-food objects frequently can cause the teeth to shift, damage tooth enamel, and cause fractures in the teeth. Existing dental work can also become lose or damaged. To shift away from these habits, chewing food items such as carrots may help without beginning other habits that can threaten oral health.