Bad Habits that are Damaging Your Oral Health

Bad Habits that are Damaging Your Oral Health

February 20, 2022

Cavity prevention is easy when you know how to properly take charge of your oral health. Flossing, brushing, and visiting your dentist regularly is the best way to keep your teeth healthy and bright. However, there are several other habits we fall into in our daily lives that can negatively affect our oral health and sabotage the impact of our oral care efforts.

Aside from eating too much sugar between meals, some bad habits can damage your oral health that aren’t so obvious. You may actually be doing something every day that puts your teeth at risk of decay or enamel damage without even knowing. Let’s take a look at some of the common habits that could be having an adverse effect on your oral health.

Aggressive Brushing of  the Teeth and Gums 

Brushing your teeth regularly is a great way to take care of your oral health. But, do you know it is possible to overdo it? Brushing too hard can actually end up damaging your teeth and gums. 

In fact, aggressive brushing may cause a range of oral problems including tooth sensitivity, sore and irritated gums, and enamel abrasion. As such, it is best to choose a toothbrush hardness that’s appropriate for your teeth and gums (most dentists don’t recommend using anything other than soft)—you should avoid being heavy-handed in brushing your teeth as well. 

Smoking Cigarettes and Chewing Tobacco

Smoking cigarettes and chewing tobacco often cause oral health problems and can stain and damage your teeth. As a matter of fact, tobacco increases your risk of developing tooth decay, gum disease, and greatly increases your risk of oral cancer. Aside from that, here are some of the common oral problems that affect people who smoke:

  • Smoker’s keratosis or whitening of the soft tissue in the mouth
  • Chronic dry mouth 
  • Tooth loss
  • Poor healing after tooth extraction
  • Poor healing after mouth and gum surgery
  • Decreased sense of taste
  • Halitosis or a bad taste in the mouth and bad breath

Nail Biting

Biting your nails can seriously affect your gums and teeth. This is a habit that commonly starts during childhood as a natural progression from thumb sucking. When biting your nails, you’re likely putting pressure on your teeth, causing them to shift and leave gaps in your smile. 

Furthermore, it also weakens the roots of your teeth, causing potential issues with your jaw bone. Unfortunately, this can be a difficult habit to break. Thus, if you don’t want to lose your teeth from nail-biting, you should have a dental checkup and find effective strategies to help you stop biting your nails.     

Chewing Ice Cubes

Another bad habit that may harm your oral health is chewing ice cubes. Biting an ice cube can break, crack, or chip your teeth. Any of these problems may require a filling or dental crown to address the damage. 

Thus, if you want to enjoy the cooling effect of ice in your mount, especially during the hot season, it’s better to suck the ice, rather than to chew or bite it. Or, you may also drink cold beverages through a straw or take them without ice to help curb this habit. 

Using Teeth as Tools

People who use their teeth as a tool have a high risk of developing oral problems. At their own peril, people rely on their teeth to do several odd jobs: from uncapping a bottle of nail polish to tearing open a bag of chips, straightening a bent spoon, ripping a price tag off the newly bought clothes, or even popping off a bottle cap. 

While these activities may seem harmless, they can be hard on your teeth, causing the edge of a weakened tooth to chip off. If you don’t want to damage your oral health because of this bad habit, don’t use your teeth as a third hand or a pair of scissors.

Overdoing It With Acidic Foods

Acidic foods can cause sensitivity, tooth decay, and discoloration of teeth. That is why it’s important to consume them in moderation. Here are some of the highly acidic foods and drinks that you consume in moderation to prevent increased risk of oral problems:

  • Citrus fruits such as limes, lemons, tangerines, grapefruits, and oranges
  • Grapes, apples, peaches, pineapples, blueberries, and pomegranates
  • Sodas and fruit juices 
  • Tomatoes and tomato juice
  • Jams 
  • Jellies 
  • Vinegar

The acids of these foods and drinks may cause enamel erosion, which can damage your teeth more intensively as it progresses. This erosion can build a rough texture on your teeth’s surface, making them appear darker and causing sensitivity of the tooth’s exposed deeper layers while compromising the integrity of your tooth’s outer structure. 

Take Care of Your Oral Health with Carrie Muzny DDS

Carrie Muzny DDS offers the highest-quality dental services for our patients in The Woodlands and surrounding areas. Our highly acclaimed team are not only exceptionally trained in modern preventative techniques, but also have attained academic honors and continue to refine their craft year after year in preventative dentistry, restorative dentistry, surgical procedures, and cosmetic dentistry

With our state-of-the-art technology and vast range of smile-perfecting procedures, we stay atop the field and deliver smiles as sunny as the state of Texas!

To let us help you get that perfect smile, contact us today. You can even request a virtual consultation!

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