Things you may be doing every day could ruin your teeth, and it’s no surprise. Many times, we care for our teeth through brushing and flossing, we all resort to bad habits that are damaging the health of our teeth.
In fact, one may be unaware of how certain drinks, physical activities, and the foods he/she consumes can damage the gums and teeth.
Countless numbers of adults ages 65 and above lost all their teeth because they do not practice a good oral hygiene routine.
Below are 1o bad habits that damage your teeth, that can certainly be controlled and prevented
- Nail biting
You can probably already imagine that nail-biting has the potential for tooth cracking, chipping, or wearing down over time. However, nail biting is also problematic for your jaw, eventually leading to jaw dysfunction considering you’re keeping your jaw at an unnatural angle while biting your nails. Keeping your nails trimmed short, wearing fake nails, or wearing a clear bitter-tasting nail polish can help with combating nail biting.
- Tongue Piercings
Tongue piercings are a trend that can come at a hefty price in terms of cost to your health. Highly discouraged by dentists, tongue piercings can cause teeth to chip or break requiring dental work. They can also rub against the gums and cause permanent gum recession, which can lead to sensitivity and even tooth loss. Mouth jewelry also encourages more bacteria buildup in the mouth creating an overall unhealthy situation.
- Thumb sucking
Thumb sucking is fine for young infants who are teething, but this bad habit can damage the alignment of the teeth over time, often cause an overbite for many individuals. Especially once the permanent teeth come in, thumb sucking can become permanently damaging without the aid of orthodontic treatment.
Thumb sucking can be prevented at all ages. However, the earlier, the better. Keeping your or your child’s hands busy is one potential solution to becoming more aware of your bad habit.
- Chewing on Ice
Chewing ice is a seemingly harmless, unconscious habit but can cause permanent damage to our teeth with small cracks. These cracks can grow larger over time and ultimately cause a tooth to fracture. Opt for chilled water or drinks without ice to resist the urge
- Grinding Teeth
Grinding or clenching teeth is called “bruxism” and affects an estimated 30 to 40 million people. It usually happens at night, it can be an inherited trait from a parent, and it is often associated with stress in one’s life. It puts pressure on teeth, jaw muscles, and the jaw joint (temporomandibular joint or TMJ) and can cause pain. Wearing a custom-made mouth guard at night may help prevent damage and reduce pressure on teeth and surrounding structures. Other methods such as biofeedback and relaxation techniques might help.
Tobacco use dries out the mouth and increases the amount of plaque buildup around our teeth. Smokers are more likely to lose teeth compared to nonsmokers due to gum disease. Additionally, tobacco use is a big risk factor for oral cancer. To increase your chances of success in kicking this unhealthy habit, seek help from your doctor.
- Opening Stuff With Your Teeth
Teeth are meant for eating, speaking properly, and smiling. Anything else can be unhealthy and this most certainly includes using them as tools. Despite the convenience, opening potato chip bags, bobby pins, or even bottle caps with teeth can cause teeth to chip or fracture. Reach for the proper tools for such tasks to save your teeth from unnecessary damage.
- Eating foods with too much acid (e.g. lemons)
As kids, many of us eat a slice of orange or lemon and smile with it as if the peel was our teeth. If your parents ever responded, “Don’t do that. That will run your teeth,” they are correct.
Consuming too many acidic food products and leaving an acidic food product to sit on the teeth (like with the scenario mentioned above) can damage the tooth enamel. Damaged tooth enamel leads to a risk of cavities, tooth sensitivity, and other issues.
If you ever consumed a lemon or other acidic food, you may recall having slightly painful teeth for a while. This is just one example of how quickly something acidic can hurt our teeth. Remember not to brush until at least a half hour after consumption to prevent further deterioration.
- Misuse of toothpicks
Toothpicks are truly meant for one purpose and one purpose only: To remove gunk between our teeth. Using toothpicks to remove plaque or tartar from the teeth can ruin the enamel and scratch the teeth.
Shoving toothpicks deep between the cracks of our teeth is another issue, one that can cause the teeth to shift and form gaps if done in excess. Using toothpicks correctly, for removing food debris, is important.
- Playing Sports With No Mouth Guard
Going out on the playing field without something to protect your teeth is as important as wearing a helmet and other protective body gear. Your teeth are vulnerable to being knocked out or damaged from high impact sports such as basketball, football, hockey, and soccer. A sports mouth guard helps cushion hard blows to the teeth and jaw.
Keep your smile healthy and pretty by avoiding these bad habits that wreck your teeth.