Bad Habits That Can Cause Tooth Decay

Do you think you are doing everything you should where your teeth are concerned? Maybe you are flossing, brushing, and seeing your dentist on a regular basis, but you could still be causing damage to your teeth from bad habits. At Hamby Family Dental Center, your Fuquay-Varina dentist, we see a lot of patients who have tooth decay as well as fractures and gum damage from poor habits. Everyone knows that sugary foods and beverages aren’t good for your teeth, but what are some other things that you may be doing every day that is harming your teeth? For your awareness, we’ve put together a list of bad habits that cause tooth decay and other problematic issues.

Biting Your Nails

If you are a nail-biter, you probably dislike the habit but find it difficult to stop. Every time you bite your nails, you put extreme pressure on your jaw and teeth, causing damage to both. The ADA has communicated that nail biting can cause jaw dysfunction due to the position your jaw is put in while biting. When biting your nails, the jaw is held in a protruded position for long periods which promotes dysfunction and misalignment. Additionally, nail biting can chip your teeth! These are all reasons why you should try to quit this bad habit. Painting your nails with nail polish, especially one that has a bitter taste, can help deter you from incessant biting.

Brushing Teeth and Gums With Excessive Force

Regular brushing is a routine that maintains good oral health. But, you can actually brush your teeth too hard and do harm to your teeth and gums. Aggressive brushing can wear the tooth enamel such that your teeth are more susceptible to decay and sensitivity. Brushing with too much force also is a detriment to your gums and causes them to recede. Receding gums exposes the roots, resulting in tooth sensitivity to hot, cold, sweet, and acidic foods and beverages. Using a soft-bristled toothbrush and a gentle touch are the solutions for rough brushing. Don’t scrub your teeth; instead, gently massage them with your toothbrush. Purchase a toothbrush that has the ADA label on it. More than likely, your dental professional supplies you with a proper toothbrush when you go in for routine exams and cleanings. Discuss with them the best toothbrush to purchase when it is time to replace your brush.

Using Your Teeth to Open Packaged Items

We’ve all done it…you have purchased an item and you can’t tear the packaging off so you use your teeth. It seems convenient until you chip a tooth or experience a fracture. A fracture can occur regardless of whether it’s a bag of chips or something like a bottle top. A cracked or fractured tooth will lead to losing a tooth or an extraction. To save your teeth, take the time to find a pair of scissors, a bottle opener, or another tool to open the item.

Chewing Ice

Chewing ice is a very bad habit in terms of the health of your teeth. Even though it may feel good to your mouth to crunch the ice and experience the coolness. Many times, as with most habits, you do it unconsciously meaning that you aren’t even aware of it. But, chewing ice is a habit that can cause damage by creating cracks and chips in the enamel. Undoubtedly, when damage occurs, you will experience pain and require a dentist to repair it. Chewing ice can cause different types of damage at different levels of severity. At Hamby Family Dental, depending on the damage, we perform crowns and bridges, root canals, and implants. To change your habit of ice biting, drink your beverages cold without ice and drink through a straw.

Grinding and Clenching Your Teeth

Again, grinding and clenching your teeth can usually occur without you even thinking about it. Many times, it occurs at night while you are sleeping. The result is muscle pain, restricted jaw movement, and damage to your teeth. The primary reason for grinding and clenching your teeth is stress. The ADA recommends engaging in relaxation exercises for relieving stress manifesting in clenching your teeth. Additionally, your dentist can determine whether a mouth guard that you wear during sleep will help.

Using Tobacco Products

Tobacco products, regardless of whether it is cigarettes, chewing tobacco, or snuff, are harmful to your teeth and gums. Using tobacco products can increase your risk of gum disease, tooth decay, dry mouth, bad breath, and oral cancer. Discuss this habit with your dental professional for ways to kick this habit.

Using Toothpicks

Using a toothpick after eating may sound like a good idea to remove food particles between the teeth. However, digging and jabbing around your teeth can cause damage and possibly even infection to your gums. It is much better to use an ADA-approved dental cleaning tool to remove food that has lodged between teeth.

Contact Us for Routine Dental Checkups

Keep up with your routine dental checkups in order for our dental professionals to monitor the state of your teeth and gums. If you engage in one of the bad habits we’ve discussed in this article, you should tell your dentist and see what he/she advises you to do. Don’t let your habit(s) create a dire situation that requires an emergency visit to your dentist.  Contact us today for a teeth cleaning and checkup so we can help you prevent or correct oral issues you may have. Call us at 919-552-2431 or fill out the form below.

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