Your teeth are pretty important. You need them to help you speak. They start the digestive process by chewing up your food. And quite often, we take that for granted because it’s not something that we really have to think about on a day-to-day basis.
But if your teeth are that important, shouldn’t you treat them like it?
A dentist in Twin Falls helped us put together this list of habits that are harming your teeth. Do you have any of these habits?
You’ve been told not to bite your nails since you were a kid, but did it help? Maybe having a little more knowledge of why this is bad will help. Biting your nails can chip your teeth, even ever so slightly that it’s difficult to tell at first. This habit also places your jaw in a set position for a prolonged period of time, if you’re an excessive nail-biter, and that can cause dysfunction with your jaw too.
Some possible solutions are using a bitter nail polish and reducing your stress. Nail biting is typically a nervous habit. If you find ways to relieve your stress and calm your nerves, this can help. If you’re having trouble calming your nerves, carry something to keep your hands busy instead of biting your nails.
Brushing Too Hard
Brushing your teeth is good, brushing too hard is bad. The bristles on your toothbrush can start rubbing away at the enamel of your teeth if you brush too hard. It can also cause your gums to bleed.
Try using a soft-bristled toothbrush, and brush your teeth gently. It shouldn’t hurt or cause your gums to bleed.
Do you have children who suck their thumbs? This can cause developmental problems in their teeth as they get older, like an excessive overbite or crooked teeth.
Thumb sucking is usually done as a soothing method. It’s a source of comfort during stressful situations and it can help reduce their anxiety. Help your child find other ways to soothe anxiety, like a blanket or stuffed animal to hold close. And help them become aware of the habit so they can make the choice to stop rather than pulling their hand out of their mouth every time you catch them doing it.
For some reason, chewing on ice is particularly satisfying for many people. But this habit is a risky one. It can cause a chipped tooth or break a filling.
To resist this temptation, order drinks without ice or use a straw.
Chewing Pen Caps
When we’re bored or working on something, it’s common for many people to start chewing on the end of their pen or pencil, their glasses, or the aglet of their sweatshirt string. When we’re concentrated on something while doing this, it’s easy to not realize how much pressure you are putting between your teeth and the object. This can cause your teeth to chip or break a filling.
Try to make yourself aware of this habit when it is occurring. Awareness in itself can help you break the habit.
Using As Tools
When you don’t have scissors, do you use your teeth to tear off a tag or open a new bag? Your teeth are not tools meant for cutting and tearing. They are meant for chewing food – which should be soft enough already that it doesn’t harm your teeth.
Keep a small pair of scissors or nail clippers in your purse, on your desk at work, and in a central area at home. Having these items close by or on hand will lessen the temptation to use your teeth.
Clenching and Grinding
It’s no secret that clenching and grinding are bad for your teeth and jaw. It can cause pain in your jaw, misaligned teeth, and tooth erosion. The problem with this one is that we can’t always control when we are doing it – especially if you do this while you sleep.
Clenching and grinding is often a result of stress. If you can find some ways to help relieve that everyday stress, you might discover that you don’t fall back to this habit as much. Another solution is to wear a mouth guard at night. This will help protect your teeth even if you start to grind them while you sleep.
If you’re concerned about how one of your habits might be affecting your teeth, talk to your dentist about it at your next appointment. They can examine your teeth and see if there is any damage and give you some advice for moving forward.