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8 Habits That Are Damaging Your Teeth

09.29.2015 · Posted in Dental, Health

We often take our teeth for granted and there are certain habits we’re all guilty of that can prove harmful to our oral health. Here are eight habits to kick if you want to keep your teeth in tip top condition:

  1. Smoking

Everyone knows the myriad health implications of smoking, so it’s no big shocker to find this on the list. We all know smoking contributes to bad breath and stained teeth, but it also increases your risk of gum disease, so if you needed another reason to put out those cigarettes for good, here it is.

  1. Thumb sucking

Here’s one for your kiddies. It’s normal for children to suck their thumb to comfort them when they feel upset or tired. However, it should only serve as a short-term therapy. Children who suck their thumb into the later stages of childhood have an increased risk of orthodontic problems, and many dentists such as those at Sparkle Dental Boutique recommend weaning children away from the thumb after they reach their first birthday.

  1. Nail biting

Many of us gnaw on a nail when we’re feeling nervous, but this anxious habit causes aggravation for our teeth. Prolonged periods of nail biting can increase the risk of teeth moving out of place and there’s a constant risk of bits of nail getting stuck between the cracks. Bacteria gather under our nails too, so biting them also invites hygiene problems into our mouths.

  1. Brushing too hard

In many areas of our lives, the more physical effort we put in, the better the results. But when it comes to brushing your teeth, less is more. Brushing too vigorously can weaken the tooth enamel, which in turn accelerates the risk of cavities and other dental problems. To keep your teeth as strong as your brushing arm, go gentle with the toothbrush. If you’ve got an electric one, that’s even better. Just let the brush head do all the work for you.

  1. Tooth grinding

We usually grind our teeth when we feel stressed out, if not subconsciously during the night. It causes problems with the teeth and jaws and can lead to a TMJ disorder. A TMJ disorder is a group of symptoms that affect the temporomandibular joint (the joint you use when you open and close your mouth).  As well as stress, anxiety and subconscious sleep situations, tooth grinding can also be caused by loose fillings or crowns, or even orthodontic problems. Whatever the reason, if you’re a regular tooth-grinder, it’s likely you’re subjecting your teeth to chips, wear and weakened enamel. The best therapy is to wear a bite guard at night. These devices look like sports mouthguards and stop your teeth from clenching when you sleep.

  1. Crunching ice

If you’re prone to finishing off the ice when you’ve drained the dregs of a cold drink, be careful. The action of crunching down on hard ice cubes can harm your tooth structure, not to mention the cold! Such an extreme temperature is likely to cause damage to the enamel, so just be wary when you finish your cooled beverage.

  1. Using teeth as tools

We’ve all done it. When we need to cut a length of sellotape and don’t have a pair of scissors to hand, sometimes it’s just too tempting to bite it with our teeth. But this can cause damage to both the enamel and gums. Another dental no-no is using your teeth as a bottle opener. Dental injuries caused by opening a bottle with the teeth are much more common than you could even imagine!

  1. Drinking fizzy drinks

If you’re a fizzy drink addict or are partial to a diet Coke with your lunch, you might have noticed your teeth are slightly less of a fan. Sugar is always going to be a problem with fizzy drinks, but even the diet versions raise concerns. Fizzy drinks have a low pH value and this causes the protective enamel layer of our teeth to erode over time, inviting gum disease and tooth decay.