A lot of people are very careful about looking after their teeth. Many visit their dentist regularly, stick to a good oral hygiene routine, and are careful about their diet. Nonetheless, there are a great many people who develop bad habits over time, and many of these habits can lead to dental health problems. This article provides a list of the most common bad habits that adversely affect dental health.
- Biting or chewing ice. This practice is very common and is one that many people do without even realizing it. Although it may seem harmless, it certainly isn't. The coldness and solidity of the ice can crack or fracture the teeth. Ice can cause very small microscopic tooth fractures that can get bigger and worsen with time.
- Drinking sugary beverages. Drinking soft drinks on a regular basis (e.g. every day) can lead to the teeth being exposed to high levels of sugar and acid. As a result, the tooth enamel can become eroded, the teeth can start to feel sensitive, and tooth decay can set in. If you do drink these beverages, you should use a straw because this allows most of the sugar and acid to bypass the teeth.
- Using the teeth as tools. It is surprising how many people use their teeth to open a whole range of items, such as for tearing the tag off new clothes, opening bags of chips, and even for opening bottles. These actions put the teeth under great pressure and can weaken the enamel or even fracture the teeth.
- Sucking on citrus fruit, particularly lemons. Most citrus fruits are very acidic, especially lemons. These high levels of acid can erode the enamel on the teeth which in turn can cause sensitivity and even fractures.
- Grinding the teeth and/or clenching the jaw. This bad practice is often the result of stress. Grinding and clenching can place the teeth under immense strain, which can lead to TMJ (Temporomandibular joint disorders). This habit can also harm any dental work you have already had done.
- Poor dental hygiene practices at home. While this bad practice may seem minor in comparison to the ones mentioned above, it can be just as harmful. Where there is a lack of good dental hygiene, periodontal disease can develop, and this may lead eventually to infection and tooth loss. It is highly recommended that you brush your teeth at least twice a day for about two minutes per brushing.
- Biting your nails. While it may seem obvious that biting your nails can harm your hands, it can also harm the teeth. Additionally, this habit may affect oral hygiene because you are allowing the bacteria under your finger nails to enter your mouth.
It is not easy to change established habits, but it is vital to keep your teeth and mouth healthy. The first thing is to identify any bad habits you have and then set about remedying them. If you find it difficult to give up any bad habits, ask your dentist for advice and more information.