7 Bad Habits That Can Affect Your Smile And Oral Health

7 Bad Habits That Can Affect Your Smile And Oral Health

Posted by Dental Magic OC & Braces on Jan 3 2023, 09:42 PM

Good oral hygiene is an important part of maintaining good overall health. Brushing and flossing help to lower the risk of tooth decay and gum disease. However, certain bad habits can also impact your oral health. Nail biting, using teeth as tools, chewing ice cubes, frequent snacking, biting and chewing foreign objects, thumb sucking, teeth grinding, and brushing too hard are just a few of the bad habits that can negatively impact oral health.

Nail Biting

Nail biting is a common habit among children and adults alike. In many cases, nail-biting happens unconsciously. Patients may bite their nails out of nervousness or during times of increased stress. 

Unfortunately, nail biting can cause a variety of oral health issues, including chipped, broken, and cracked teeth, as well as sensitive teeth and gum disease. In fact, patients who chew on their fingernails are more likely to develop an infection in the gums surrounding the tooth. This infection is called paronychia and causes swelling and redness of the gum tissue. Over time, this infection can affect the gum, bone, and skin around the affected area. If left untreated, paronychia can become serious. The best way to avoid developing paronychia is to stop chewing on your nails altogether. 

Using Teeth As Tools

Your teeth should not be used as tools or for cracking ice. Biting through a hard substance like nuts or ice can crack your teeth—especially if your teeth are weakened from cavities or worn enamel. This can lead to breakage, chips, or even fractures that require restorative treatment to correct. The same goes for things like opening bottles and tearing open packages with your teeth. So, be extremely cautious to avoid these habits so that you don’t damage them beyond repair.

Chewing Ice Cubes

Imagine biting into an ice cube. Ouch! Now imagine doing that day after day for years. The enamel on the outside of your teeth is very strong and durable, but ice chewing can wear it down over time. Enamel erosion can easily lead to tooth sensitivity, discoloration, and damaged teeth. We recommend avoiding this bad habit to protect your smile.

Teeth Grinding

When you chew or grind your teeth together, it puts a great amount of force on your temporomandibular joint. This pressure can easily lead to a sore jaw, headaches, and facial pain. If you are dealing with these types of symptoms, ask your dentist if you could benefit from a custom nightguard to help relieve your pain and discomfort. Nightguards are an affordable and convenient solution for many patients. Custom-made by a dentist, a nightguard is made to fit comfortably against your smile and provide optimal protection for your mouth overnight when you sleep.

Frequent Snacking

Every time you snack on food that’s high in sugar or acid, you risk wearing down your enamel and exposing your teeth to cavities. The more often you eat snacks throughout the day, the worse the effect will be on your dental health. Instead of reaching for candy or a sugary beverage as a pick-me-up, try munching on some veggies, nuts, and cheese instead. Also, be sure to drink plenty of water! Dehydration can lead to dry mouth and tooth decay. Water helps wash away bacteria and the acids that harm teeth.

Brushing Too Hard

When we brush too hard, we run the risk of wearing away tooth enamel and causing gum recession. Gum recession can cause sensitivity and make teeth look longer. Worse, it can make it painful to eat or talk and even cause loose teeth. The best way to combat this problem is to make sure you are using a soft-bristled toothbrush, preferably one that’s ADA-approved. You should also make sure you are using toothpaste with fluoride in it, as this can help strengthen your enamel and prevent erosion. Make sure you brush your teeth at least twice per day for two minutes at a time. And be sure to replace your toothbrush every four to six months.

Thumb Sucking

While it seems like harmless behavior, thumb sucking actually has several negative effects on the teeth, both short and long-term. It can cause misalignment of teeth and bite problems, and there’s even a chance for the improper eruption of permanent teeth that occurs when continued pressure is applied to the jawbone. If the child stops before age six, there will not be any lasting effects. However, if prolonged, the habit can lead to speech problems, difficulty eating, and orthodontic issues later on in life.

Dental Magic OC & Braces offer personalized dental treatment and quality services to keep you smiling. For inquiries and appointments, call us at 949-916-8922, or visit us at 20025 Lake Forest Drive Suite 105, Lake Forest, CA 92630. 

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