Dental Health, Lifestyle

10 Everyday Habits That Ruin Your Oral Health

10 Everyday Habits That Ruin Your Oral Health_woman biting bottle cap

Not feeling confident every time you flash your smile? The imperfections in your teeth might seem to be a mystery, especially if you think you’ve been taking good care of your oral health. Scary as it may sound, it’s possible to wreak havoc on your dental health without even realizing it. There may be certain things that appear inconspicuous, but they are the real culprits. Here are 10 everyday habits that ruin your oral health.

1) Brushing too hard.

Many people make the mistake of thinking that as long as they brush their teeth, their oral health should be in tiptop shape. The truth, however, is that it’s not always in how often you brush, but how you do it.

It’s easy to ignore the actual process of brushing your teeth, as it’s something you’ve been doing since you were a child. But if you’re applying too much force when brushing, it can cause irritated gums, enamel abrasion, and tooth sensitivity. You may also want to switch to a brush with softer bristles.

2) Grinding teeth.

Ever catch yourself grinding your teeth? If so, remind yourself to stop right away. Grinding or clenching the teeth can lead to long-term damage, even if you don’t notice any pain or discomfort. Also referred to as bruxism, grinding is often linked to sleep apnoea and stress.

Over time, this bad habit can cause broken or fractured teeth. It’s also common for patients to suffer from muscle and joint dysfunction, causing a lot of pain in the facial area. If you have severe sleep apnoea, it’s recommended to get a nighttime tooth guard to prevent grinding.

3) Biting nails.

It’s strange that some people find nail-biting disgusting, while others find pleasure doing it. If you belong to the latter group, then it’s high time to change this habit. Experts say that people tend to bite their nails when they feel nervous. For this reason, it’s beneficial to keep stress levels to a minimum to help control the urge

Nail-biting can lead to chips on your teeth. Also, it places the jaw in a protruding position for an extended period. This position places a lot of stress on the jaw, explaining why many people with this habit eventually suffer from jaw dysfunction.

4) Using teeth for anything other than eating.

Your teeth are designed for eating, so you really shouldn’t use them to cut things open or hold items your hands could no longer hold. Yes, sometimes it’s so tempting to use your teeth to rip apart that bag of chips, but you’ll thank yourself later by using a pair of scissors instead.

Using your teeth as a tool leads to a higher risk of fractured teeth and jaw injury. Not to mention, it also makes it likelier for you to swallow objects you don’t want to get into your mouth.

5) Picking teeth with the wrong materials.

Ever had something stuck between your teeth after a delicious meal? If you don’t bring floss with you, then there’s a good chance you’ll look for other things that serve as a replacement. Popular choices include paper clips and cards.

If you pause and think about it for a minute, this habit is disgusting. You’re possibly introducing a host of germs into your mouth by using foreign items. This habit can also cause tooth and gum disease. An easy solution is to keep a container of floss with you at all times.

6) Smoking.

By now, everybody knows that smoking is one of the worst things you can do for your dental health. It can lead to tooth discoloration, gum disease, and oral cancer. Some smokers even report experiencing a reduction in their sense of taste and smell. And of course, smoking causes a wealth of other issues to your overall health.

Quitting any kind of addiction proves difficult, but certainly not impossible. Try your best to shy away from smoking. Your whole body will thank you for doing so.

7) Chewing ice cubes.

For some reason, a lot of people like to chew on ice cubes. Just like nail-biting, though, this can also cause breaks, cracks, or chips on your teeth. Eventually, you might have to get a filling or a crown to correct aesthetic issues.

Note that those who get brain freeze easily are not safe as well. This applies to chewing on any hard object. If you can’t resist putting ice in your mouth, try to suck it instead of biting.

8) Taking several medications.

Do you pop a lot of pills on a daily basis? One of the worst things about suffering from certain medical conditions is that you need to take multiple medications. Of course, they’re necessary to improve your health, but there’s no denying that it can be annoying. You might not realize it, but these medications might be the root cause of your dry mouth.

Without enough moisture, your teeth become more vulnerable to oral health problems such as gum disease, cavities, enamel erosion, and acid attacks. Try to talk to your doctor and see whether there are alternatives that do not cause the same problem. Also, ask your dentist about topical supplements that protect your teeth from getting excessively dry.

9) Sucking thumb.

Adults may have abandoned this habit, but if you have kids who still love to suck their thumb, you better do something about it right away. This practice can have a huge impact on your child’s bone structure, especially around the age of 5 when permanent teeth start to grow.

Many cases of orthodontic work during early adulthood are caused by thumb sucking in earlier stages of life. Talk to your dentist to get tips on how your child can quit this habit.

10) Failing to floss.

A lot of people consider flossing a hassle. It’s easy to assume that brushing your teeth is all you really need. But failing to dislodge tiny food particles between your teeth can wreak havoc over time.

Brushing isn’t enough to maintain your oral health for the simple reason that it doesn’t reach some areas. This is where flossing comes in. Surely, you don’t want food particles to sit inside your mouth for any length of time. Make it a habit to floss at least three times weekly. Adopting this habit can make a wealth of difference.


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