Good oral hygiene habits reduce the risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Good oral hygiene habits include brushing teeth at least twice a day, flossing daily, and visiting the dentist regularly. On the other hand, there are some other daily habits that can harm our oral health. Here are some of them.
Nail biting is a very common bad habit that many people do without even realizing it. The habit of chewing fingernails or biting the cuticles is most commonly a result of stress. When people are feeling stressed, they tend to bite their nails. This anxiety-reducing behavior can also become a habitual pattern over time.
If you bite your nails on a regular basis, it is important to stop right away. Not only can biting your nails lead to an infection of the cuticle area, but continued stress can lead to chipping and fracture of the teeth. This act can also wear down the teeth' enamel, making it susceptible to tooth decay.
Tobacco use is linked to several health concerns and can cause permanent damage to teeth and gums, including yellowed, discolored teeth. In addition, it heightens the risk of oral cancer. Quitting smoking is a highly recommended course of action for better oral and overall health. It's never too late to quit! If you are a smoker and are worried about how it might impact your oral health, talk to your dentist about smoking cessation programs or medications that can help ease the process.
Smoking also causes dry mouth, which can contribute to bad breath and tooth decay. Drinking plenty of water is the best way to combat both issues. For those who still want to smoke but are concerned about their oral health, consider chewing sugarless gum or using a saliva substitute. You should also remember to brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and clean between your teeth once a day as well.
The act of brushing your teeth is intended to help remove plaque and tartar buildup from the surfaces of your teeth. If done too harshly or frequently, however, it can cause enamel wear and increase the risk of oral health concerns like dental decay and gum disease. It's even common for gums to recede as a result of aggressive brushing!
Ideally, you should brush your teeth twice a day – once in the morning and again at night before you go to bed. Make sure you use a soft-bristled toothbrush and try to limit the force of your strokes during each brushstroke. Your hygienist may recommend an orthodontic floss threader to remove food particles between teeth. It's best to avoid toothpicks because they can actually damage your gums.
Teeth grinding can wreak havoc on your smile by wearing down enamel and fracturing teeth and causing jaw pain. Many people grind their teeth at night when they are asleep, so a partner may hear them. Others may notice that they clench during the day, which can be a sign of anxiety or stress. Stress reduction techniques like meditation and yoga can be very helpful in stopping this bad habit. If teeth grinding is severe enough, your dentist may recommend using a mouth guard to prevent further damage.
Hard foods like ice and hard candy can cause tooth pain, so it's best to avoid chewing on them. However, there are some habits that can cause damage to your teeth that you may not even realize you're using as tools. For example, opening soda cans, packages, bottles, etc., with your teeth can very easily damage the protective coating of your teeth, allowing bacteria to enter the inner layers of the tooth and causing decay and cavities. So, the next time you want to open something, choose an appropriate tool instead.
Dr. Lisa Baker and her caring team want their Bloomington area patients to enjoy beautiful, healthy smiles. For more information on dental procedures, call us for a consultation at (812) 269-8230.