Our teeth help us chew our food, speak, and smile. However, we often disregard them. Our habits can damage our oral health. Listed below are some common bad habits and ways to avoid or correct them.

  • Nail Biting

The act of biting your nails might seem harmless, but it actually can do a lot of damage to your oral health. When you put your teeth together to bite down on something, it can end up chipping or breaking your front teeth. This can leave your teeth vulnerable to decay and damage. This can also wear down their tooth enamel and cause long-term problems. This is why it’s imperative that you take steps to avoid grinding your teeth by limiting the amount of stress in your life. If you are struggling with toothaches or unexplained pain, ask your dentist about a night guard.

  • Smoking

Smokers are at a much higher risk of developing oral cancers. The carcinogens in cigarettes and cigars can damage the soft tissues in our mouths and cause precancerous lesions to form in the mouth. These lesions can progress into cancer over time if they are not treated. In fact, it is estimated that over 75% of cases of oral cancer are linked to tobacco use. If you are a smoker and want to reduce your risk of oral cancer, it is best to quit smoking as soon as possible. In addition to increasing your risk for oral cancers, smoking can also increase your risk for a myriad of other oral health issues. For instance, smokers are more likely to develop periodontal disease than non-smokers. They are also more likely to lose a tooth due to gum disease or tooth decay. Furthermore, smokers are more likely to have bad breath because the chemicals from cigarettes cling to their teeth, and the odor cannot be removed with regular dental hygiene products. Finally, the more you smoke, the higher your risk of developing tooth discoloration and staining. If you are a smoker, quit it at the earliest. Aside from quitting smoking, you should also avoid being around secondhand smoke as much as possible. This habit can increase your risk for cancer and heart disease, so it is best to avoid it whenever possible.

  • Aggressive Brushing

Some people brush their teeth too aggressively, and this habit is incredibly common and can damage your enamel! When you brush your teeth too hard, you risk damaging your tooth enamel, wearing away at the dentin underneath and leaving your teeth vulnerable to sensitivity and decay. Additionally, if you brush too much or too often, you can irritate your gums and cause a recession, leading to tooth sensitivity over time.

If you experience pain when brushing or notice red gums, you may be brushing too hard. If you feel any discomfort, talk to your dentist about the next steps to take. He or she may recommend switching to a soft-bristled toothbrush or using toothpaste for sensitive teeth. Your dentist may also recommend limiting the amount of time that you brush your teeth to avoid harming the enamel of your teeth.

  • Teeth Grinding

Teeth grinding is a habit that, over time, can cause tooth damage, including chipping and cracking of teeth. It can also put a strain on the jaw muscles and joints, leading to headaches or pain in the jaw. If the clenching is severe enough, you can sometimes hear your own teeth grinding at night! If you suspect you suffer from bruxism, consider wearing a mouthguard at night to reduce the wear and tear on your teeth.

  • Using Teeth As Tools

There are hundreds of things that we use our teeth for that don’t involve having food in our mouths. Some examples are using the teeth as a cutting tool, such as when you’re opening a package or tearing off a cloth tag. Whenever you use your teeth as a tool, you’re subjecting them to wear and chipping. When this happens, you increase your risk of tooth decay and cavities.

Tanega Dental, located in South San Francisco, CA, is equipped with the best dentists and the latest technologies. Call us at (650) 794-0203 and schedule an appointment with our family dentist. 

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