While maintaining your oral hygiene is one of the most important things you can do for your oral health, there are some habits that can have a negative effect on your teeth. Listed below are some of these habits.
One of the biggest threats to your oral health comes in the form of smoking cigarettes or using other tobacco products. This habit affects not only your teeth but also your gum tissue and the supporting bone structure underneath your gums. Smoking can discolor your teeth, cause bad breath, and even increase your risk of developing oral cancer. Tobacco use can also contribute to gum disease by accelerating the progression of periodontal disease and increasing the risk of tooth loss.
If you smoke or use tobacco products and want to quit so you can protect your oral and overall physical health, speak with your dentist about strategies for quitting. You may be able to work with a tobacco treatment specialist who has experience helping patients quit. Your dentist may even be able to prescribe medications that can help you quit smoking.
Teeth grinding or bruxism is a habit that can cause tooth damage over time. This habit is typically performed by people while they sleep and can cause the enamel on your teeth to wear down. Your dentist may recommend wearing a mouth guard at night if you grind your teeth in your sleep. Some patients also experience jaw pain from teeth grinding. The constant pressure that is caused by this habit puts pressure on your temporomandibular joints (TMJ). This can lead to problems like popping noises when you open your mouth or difficulty opening it at all in some cases. It can also lead to chronic headaches that can get in the way of your day-to-day activities. If your teeth are worn and chipped due to grinding, your dentist may suggest bonding to seal the teeth and protect them from further damage. If you grind your teeth in your sleep, talk to your dentist about night guards to protect your smile.
Chewing or sucking on ice can damage your enamel and your teeth by chipping and scratching them. It also causes discoloration to the surface of the tooth due to acid and gets into the crevices of your teeth, where bacteria can thrive and cause serious oral health issues. This habit can lead to chips, cracks, and fractures in your teeth or restorations. Your enamel is the hardest substance in your body, but any force applied to it can damage your mouth. Over time, this damage can worsen and lead to tooth loss.
Your mouth isn’t equipped for tearing or cutting food items into pieces. Doing so may damage your teeth and gums and even cause tooth loss. Instead of letting your teeth do the chopping and dicing, use a knife and fork instead. If you really need to rip something open, try opening it with scissors instead of pulling your mouth apart.
Aggressively brushing is a habit that can cause long-term damage to teeth and gums. It can wear down enamel and expose the underlying dentin, leading to tooth sensitivity, tooth decay, and other painful problems. It can also irritate the soft tissues of your mouth and cause gum recession. Moderation is key when it comes to brushing your teeth – brush gently but thoroughly twice a day for two minutes at a time. Don’t brush your teeth immediately after consuming acidic foods such as citrus fruits or drinking orange juice since the acid softens your enamel. Wait at least an hour to brush after eating or drinking something acidic.
To learn more about our dental care services or to schedule an appointment with us, contact Premier Dental Connections, New Port Richey, FL, by calling us at (727) 376-2299.