Habits that Harm Your Teeth

Almost all of us have picked up at least a handful of bad personal or hygiene habits over the years.

But when it comes to our oral health, some of these bad habits can be very harmful.

Grinding your teeth, for example, will wear your teeth down, causing uneven wear, which can result in unaligned teeth and even create a “wonky” bite, making it harder for you to chew and even digest your food.

Teeth grinding is usually a sign of anxiety, so the first thing you should consider is to get to the bottom of your anxiety. You can also talk to your dentist about creating a custom mouth guard for teeth grinding at night. Another option is to purchase an over-the-counter mouth guard, but the OTC guard won’t fit as well as a guard that is made specifically for your mouth.

Do you use your teeth as a bottle opener, or otherwise use your teeth as tools? Even just using your teeth to open a bag of candy or chips or to rip a clothing tag off a pair of pants can be hard on your teeth, possibly even traumatizing them. What’s more, if a tooth is in a weakened state, it could chip or even fracture.

Your teeth shouldn’t be used as a bottle opener; use a real bottle opener instead

If you don’t brush and floss regularly, you’re just asking for trouble! How can simply not brushing/flossing harm you? Let us just count the ways:

1- More than 600 forms of bacteria can take up residence in your mouth. If you don’t floss or brush, they’ll eventually inflict some serious damage.

2- Plaque will build, which will produce acids that eat away at your teeth, causing cavities.

3- You’ll eventually get gingivitis, an inflammation of your gums and a minor form of tooth decay.

4- Gingivitis can worsen, becoming periodontitis, which can lead to discolored teeth, extremely bad breath, bone loss, tooth abscesses, even loose teeth and tooth loss.

Do you love to crunch on ice? Stop! Why?
Ice is just hard water; how can crunching on hard water harm me? Ice is cold and brittle. It can actually cause a tooth to fracture. Otherwise, crunching on ice may also create microscopic cracks in your tooth enamel, possibly leading to bigger problems as time goes on. (The same goes for popcorn kernels, peach and apricots pits. Don’t crunch on these!)

Does your toothbrush have hard bristles?
Older adults especially should avoid hard-bristled toothbrushes because as we get older our gums push back, exposing the roots of our teeth, possibly increasing sensitivity when brushed with hard bristles. What’s more, hard bristles can wear away the cementum (the substance that covers your teeth’s roots), which can lead to irritated gums and sensitive teeth.

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