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Bad Dental Habits That Can Affect Your Dental Health

Creative Commons image by Steve Johnson
Creative Commons image by Steve Johnson

You already know what good dental habits are: Brush your teeth two or three times daily, floss each night, and see your dentist regularly. You might think that as long as you are doing these things, you’re good. While they’re a great start toward having healthy teeth, however, it’s possible that you have some habits that are negatively impacting your dental health. Take a look at this list of bad dental habits and see if you are guilty of any of them and, if so, figure out how to turn things around.

Crunching Ice

It’s great to have an icy cold drink, especially in the summertime, but chewing on those ice cubes can really wreak havoc on your teeth. First, biting on anything hard can loosen fillings or even cause a fracture. Secondly, the freezing cold combined with the pressure of chewing the ice can lead to tiny cracks called crazing. Crazing can lead to increased sensitivity to cold, which makes drinking an ice-cold beverage or biting into an ice cream cone painful. Leave the ice in the glass or dump it down the sink if you’re not able to resist it.

Clenching and Grinding

Many people clench and grind their teeth, otherwise known as bruxism. The tricky part is that you might not even be aware that you’re doing it, because one of the most common times for bruxism to occur is when you are sleeping. Some symptoms include a sore jaw, sore molars on both sides of your mouth, waking up with a headache, and having a sleeping partner who complains about the fact that you’re grinding your teeth. You might also catch yourself clenching and/or grinding during times of stress, when you are awake. Bruxism can lead to the wearing away of your enamel, loose fillings and fractures. Your dentist can outfit you with a night guard to help reduce the risks of clenching and grinding. Stress reduction techniques, such as meditation or yoga, can help you avoid the practice, as well.

Using Teeth as Tools

Your teeth are so handy for opening bottles, taking caps off of pens and even trimming your fingernails, aren’t they? If you recognize these habits as your own, you are not alone, but you’re also not doing your teeth any favors. Teeth should be used only for food, not as tools. You’re putting your teeth at risk every time you use them for something for which they’re not intended; not only can you break a tooth, but you can develop an infection if a foreign object were to slip and scrape against or cut your gums, lip or cheek. Work on ways you can get out of the habit of putting things in your mouth that do not belong there.

Having bad dental habits can make it necessary for extra dental work and, in some cases, might even lead to tooth loss. Avoid these problems by becoming aware of your habits and look for ways to stop resorting to them. We can help! Give us a call to schedule an appointment.