There are many factors that contribute to poor oral health, including bad habits such as nail biting, smoking, and using your teeth to open bottles. Here is a list of five common habits that could wreak havoc on your teeth.
1. Brushing your teeth and gums too hard
Yes, it is possible to overdo tooth brushing. The American Dental Association (ADA) states that using a hard-bristled toothbrush or pressing too hard while brushing can damage your gums and teeth. To avoid this, use a soft-bristled toothbrush and brush your teeth gently in wide strokes.
2. Biting your nails
If you need an added incentive to stop biting your nails, consider the damage you may be doing to your jaw and teeth. According to the ADA, nail biting can cause jaw dysfunction because it causes you to hold your jaw in a protruded position for long periods. Nail biting can chip your teeth, too. To curb this habit, try painting your nails with nail polish.
3. Chewing ice
After finishing a cool, refreshing drink, do you absentmindedly chomp on the remaining ice cubes? If you don’t want to risk a broken tooth or filling, the ADA recommends drinking through a straw or taking your drinks without ice to help kick the habit.
4. Clenching or grinding your teeth
Clenching and grinding teeth is often a subconscious habit, but it can result in damaged teeth, muscle pain and restricted jaw movement. To help prevent this harmful habit, the ADA recommends relaxation exercises, a nighttime mouth guard and trying to be more aware of when the clenching or grinding starts.
5. Using tobacco
Whether it’s cigarettes, cigars or chewing tobacco, the Cleveland Clinic states that all tobacco products are harmful to your teeth and gums. Using tobacco increases your risk of gum disease, bad breath, dry mouth, tooth decay and oral cancer. Talk to your physician about programs to help you give up tobacco.