6 Bad Habits That Could Harm Your Teeth

Posted by Polin Dental Dec 29, 2022

This is a thumbnail image of blog 6 Bad Habits That Could Harm Your Teeth

Maintaining good oral health is crucial. Not maintaining it can lead to several dental issues. Habits like nail biting, smoking, brushing teeth aggressively, teeth grinding, using teeth as tools, and not visiting a dentist regularly can cause damage to our oral health. Here's how!

  • Nail Biting

Nail biting is a bad habit that many people have a hard time breaking. This bad habit can damage the health of your teeth and gums as well as cause bite problems. Nail biting can alter the alignment of the teeth and cause chipped and cracked teeth. It can also create deep pockets between the gums and the teeth, which can lead to gum disease. Biting your nails can cause your teeth to shift out of place, which can also lead to TMJ disorder. The best thing you can do for your oral health is to just stop biting your nails! If you're having trouble breaking the habit, try applying bitter-tasting nail polish to your fingers or placing a band-aid on your finger so you don't feel the urge to bite. 

  • Smoking

There are many negative health effects of smoking tobacco and cigarettes. New research has found that smoking seems to have a negative effect on the mouth specifically. Specifically, it increases plaque buildup along the gum line and around the teeth. It also decreases saliva in the mouth, which helps to wash away bacteria and other debris that can damage teeth and gums. In addition, it can cause cancer of the oral tissue, including the lips, tongue, cheeks, gums, throat, and more. The risks of oral cancer are much higher in those who smoke than in those who don't. Those who smoke are also at a greater risk for gum disease.

When a smoker quits their habit, they will experience some improvements in the health of their mouth. But even after quitting smoking, the risk for the periodontal disease remains high for up to 10 years.

It is especially important to visit the dentist for regular checkups and cleanings if you are a smoker. This will help to catch any oral health issues early on when they are much easier to treat. Consider an oral exam, cleaning, or cosmetic dentistry procedure as an incentive for quitting smoking.

  • Brushing Teeth Aggressively

When we brush our teeth too hard or too often, it can damage the enamel and gums. Our teeth have protective layers on them called enamel. Enamel is the hardest substance in the body and protects the teeth from cavities and other damage. The outer layer of enamel wears away over time with improper oral care. When left untreated, the enamel can erode, and the dentin underneath is exposed. Once the dentin is exposed, root sensitivity occurs because the nerves in the tooth are exposed to the outside environment. So, brush your teeth gently using a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste.

  • Grinding Teeth

Bruxism is the term used for chronic teeth grinding at night during sleep. Over time, this extreme pressure on the teeth causes the enamel to wear away completely. It also puts a lot of force on the jaw joint causing pain and inflammation in the jaw joint, called temporomandibular disorder (TMD). TMD can cause lockjaw, where the jaw gets stuck in an open position. This can lead to severe headaches, earaches, and difficulty chewing. A nightguard can be worn to protect the teeth from nighttime grinding and prevent damage to the enamel.

  • Using Teeth As Tools

When you aren't careful with your teeth, they can become damaged. For example, if you crack a tooth while opening a package, this can lead to further damage and even tooth loss if you don't seek treatment right away. Other common "tools" that people use their teeth for include ripping tape and breaking tags off of clothing. If you think you might already be damaging your teeth, talk to your dentist about ways you can help prevent this from happening in the future. They can help you learn healthy techniques for opening packages and dealing with everyday issues without harming your oral health.

You don't have to treat your teeth like tools, and you should do your best to avoid using them as such. However, if you do damage your smile, then you'll want to visit your emergency dentist right away. A broken or cracked tooth can lead to major problems down the line if it's not treated in a timely manner. Your dentist can diagnose the problem and provide you with the treatment you need to get your smile fixed fast.

  • Not Visiting the Dentist Regularly

When you don't visit a dentist for regular checkups and cleanings, your oral health may suffer. Without regular cleanings and exams, plaque and bacteria can build up in your mouth, increasing your risk for tooth decay and gum disease.

Another thing to consider is that some dental issues aren't noticeable to the naked eye. During your dental checkup, your dentist can detect these issues and give you appropriate treatments at the earliest. If you're due for a checkup, schedule an appointment as soon as possible to ensure that your teeth remain healthy and vibrant. 

Visit Polin Dental at 2600 N Military Trl #320, Boca Raton, or call (561) 997-2323 to learn more about our dental procedures.

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