Bad Habits That Can Affect Your Smile

Posted by Austin Safford Jan 20, 2023

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Do you know some of our daily habits can damage our teeth? In this blog post, we will discuss some bad oral habits that can harm our dental health.

Nail Biting

Nail biting is a habit that is hard to break and can cause major complications with the teeth. The enamel on the fingernails is much harder and thicker than that of the teeth and can weaken the teeth by wearing away the outer protective layers. This also increases the susceptibility of developing an abscessed tooth due to food being trapped between the nails and the gums.

If you or someone in your family has a nail-biting problem, try the following tips to break the habit.

  • Use a stress ball or chewing gum instead – If you are stressed at work or home, try and use a stress ball or chew a piece of gum instead of biting your nails. 
  • Use bitter-tasting polish on your nails – Some nail polishes have a bitter taste that is rather unpleasant. This taste will discourage you from biting your nails down further than they already are. 

Using Teeth As Tools

Sometimes, people use their teeth as a tool to remove plastic bottle tops, rip open bags of potato chips, tear the pull tab off of a can of soda, etc. These habits exert much pressure on your teeth and can result in chipped or broken teeth. So, use a tool such as a pair of scissors or a flathead screwdriver instead of your teeth.

Chewing Ice Cubes

While ice chewing may seem harmless, it can actually cause some serious damage to our teeth. When you chew on ice, you break off small shards of enamel and dentine from your teeth. Over time, this can weaken your teeth and cause them to break or fall out. Other problems that can occur from excessive ice chewing include tooth sensitivity, stains on the teeth, cavities, and even changing the shape of the gums. So, it's best to avoid chewing on ice in any situation.

Frequent Snacking

One of the biggest habits that affect our oral health is snacking on sugary foods throughout the day. The fact that we eat so many of these snacks and treats means that we're constantly putting sugar in our teeth. This can cause tooth decay and cavities. So, stop frequent snacking and substitute unhealthy snacks for healthy ones to ensure that your teeth stay strong and healthy for a long time!

Thumb Sucking

This bad habit commonly starts in infancy and can continue for much of your life. It can cause teeth to shift out of position and even cause bite problems as the permanent teeth grow in. The sucking reflex can be very strong and hard to break, but it's best to stop the habit early and encourage your child to stop rather than try to stop the behavior as an adult.

Teeth Grinding

While some jaw soreness and stiffness are natural after a big meal or intense workout routine, chronic teeth grinding can lead to other oral health concerns. When your teeth grind together, they rub off a layer of enamel from your teeth, weakening them over time. This can lead to tooth decay and other oral illnesses. Over time, teeth grinding can even change the shape of your jawline.

If you have noticed a dull, constant headache in the morning or when you first wake up, you may be dealing with bruxism, which is the medical term for teeth grinding. If you suspect you have bruxism, we encourage you to talk to our team. We can help determine the underlying cause of your discomfort and find the best solution for your smile. Contact us today to schedule your next checkup!

If you are interested in learning more, call our office at (225) 261-0043 to schedule an appointment today! We would be happy to get you on the schedule and help answer any questions that you may have. We look forward to helping you achieve a healthy smile this holiday season and beyond!

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