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5 Habits That Harm Your Teeth (nail biting, smoking)

5 Habits That Harm Your Teeth (nail biting, smoking)
Posted on April 18, 2022

No matter how much you brush, floss, and visit your dentist, certain habits will harm your teeth. Some of them – like chewing on ice – may seem harmless but are wreaking havoc on your teeth. To maintain a healthy smile, avoid the following five tooth-damaging habits.

Smoking & Dental Health

Smoking is well-known for its harmful effects on your general health, but it can also create many dental problems.

Whether it's smoking cigarettes, vaping, or using other tobacco products, this habit can lead to gum and periodontal disease. Since smoking reduces saliva production, you're more likely to have bad breath and tooth decay.

Premature tooth loss and most oral cancers are other potential effects.

Chipped Teeth from Nail Biting

Biting your nails isn't good for your nails or your teeth. Nail-biting can cause chipped teeth and jaw dysfunction and introduce harmful bacteria into your mouth.

Try using bitter-tasting nail polishes to coat your nails to stop practising this habit. Hold something to keep your hands busy or implement other stress-reduction techniques if you're biting your nails in stressful situations.

Broken Tooth from Chewing Ice

Tooth cracks and chips are more likely if you regularly chew ice. This irreversible damage may result in a composite filling, crown, root canal, or losing the tooth entirely.

Rather than chew ice, use a straw when drinking to resist the temptation. To receive a similar crunchy feeling, replace ice with foods such as apples, carrots, or popcorn. Chewing sugar-free gum can replace the oral fixation of chewing ice, too.

Receded Gums from Brushing Too Hard

Overbrushing is possible – and can create a lot of harm to your gums and teeth. Brushing too hard causes enamel, the protective layer on your teeth, to deteriorate, leading to tooth sensitivity and pain. Your gums can recede and expose the roots of your teeth, creating increased sensitivity. Your risk of infection also increases.

Although lost enamel or receded gums are permanent, veneers can assist by protecting the surface of your teeth.

Prevent this habit by using a soft-bristled toothbrush and broad strokes while brushing your teeth gently. Some electric toothbrushes have pressure sensors that provide an alert if you're pressing too hard.

Clenching or Grinding Your Teeth

The subconscious habit of grinding or clenching your teeth can wear down your teeth and increase your risk of cavities and fractures, requiring new crowns or dental implants. Over time, you may develop jaw pain, headaches, and a misaligned jaw from grinding your teeth. This habit can create muscle dysfunctions and chronic facial pain if left untreated.

Many people clench or grind because of stress or sleep-disordered breathing, such as sleep apnea. While sleeping, wearing a nightguard (a device that provides a protective barrier between your teeth) can decrease damage.

Practising relaxation techniques before bed and performing jaw massages to loosen up muscles can help stop teeth grinding.

Fix Bad Oral Hygiene Habits

Avoiding bad oral hygiene habits is only one of the ways you can keep your teeth healthy. To learn more about habits you may be doing that put your oral health at risk, speak to your dentist.

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