Good oral health is important for many reasons. Not only does it improve your smile, but it also helps to prevent other health problems as well. It’s never too late to start improving your oral health. Listed below are a few bad habits that can negatively affect your oral health.
Chewing Ice Cubes
The ice we use to cool down our beverages is made from water, which can be very soothing for our mouths. Unfortunately, chewing on hard materials like ice can crack, chip, or break teeth, and over time, these cracks can lead to painful infections. Instead of eating your ice cubes directly, let the water melt in your mouth before swallowing. It’s also a good idea to give your jaw a break after you’ve had a few sodas, as constant exposure to cold drinks can affect the TMJ joint and cause discomfort.
Using Teeth As Tools
If you tend to use your teeth as tools, like ripping open packages or biting into plastic packaging, this can cause teeth to be sensitive and sore. This can also result in chipped or broken teeth because of the force of using the teeth as a tool. Make sure to avoid using your teeth as tools whenever possible to protect your smile from damage!
It’s not uncommon for people to eat between meals throughout the day. However, this can lead to many oral health problems. While snacking can be a healthy habit in moderation, overdoing it can be harmful. This is because a lot of snack foods are high in sugar and other carbohydrates that can fuel the growth of cavity-causing bacteria. In addition, frequent snacking puts more pressure on the teeth and gums, causing damage to both. Limiting snacks to mealtimes will help protect your oral health while also improving your satisfaction with your meals. Otherwise, be sure to only snack on nutritious options that balance fiber, protein, and whole grains with vitamins and minerals. Some examples include vegetables, fruits, nuts, and yogurts. These not only provide important nutrients but are also easier on your teeth and gums than processed or sugary foods.
Thumb sucking is a natural reflex for infants and toddlers who are soothed by the feeling of pressure on the thumb or fingers. However, this habit can cause misalignment of teeth—especially the upper front teeth—and increase your child’s risk of developing an open bite. A dentist is the best person to determine the extent of any damage from thumb sucking and recommend effective treatment options. Treatment methods can include braces and oral surgery to correct alignment issues.
Many people grind their teeth at night or during the day without realizing it. This habit can cause damage to your teeth and jaw. If your tooth enamel gets worn down enough, you could potentially damage the nerve inside of your tooth. This can lead to extreme pain and require root canal treatment. If you struggle with teeth grinding, there are a few things you can do to help stop. First, try to wear a mouth guard when you sleep to help prevent you from damaging your teeth further. If needed, you can even have your dentist create a custom-made device for you to wear while you sleep. Additionally, try to avoid chewing gum, using your teeth as tools, and ice chewing. Try to reduce the number of times you eat snacks throughout the day, and try to eat foods that require more chewing to give your jaw a break.
Brushing Too Hard
We brush our teeth to remove the plaque that accumulates on our teeth and gums every day. However, there are some people who tend to brush too hard, and these habits can cause damage to their oral health. Here are a few things you should know about brushing too hard.
When you brush your teeth too hard, you risk wearing away your enamel. This outer layer of the tooth is the hardest substance in your body, and it protects all of your other teeth from harm. If you wear away the enamel on your teeth, you will expose the dentin underneath. Dentin is not as hard as the enamel and contains pores that can trap food and bacteria that can cause decay. People who brush too aggressively also have an increased risk of gum recession. Gum recession refers to when the gums begin to pull away from a tooth. This can lead to sensitivity and root exposure which can be painful. Patients who are suffering from any of the above issues should talk to their doctor about their options for treatment.
Please reach out to our dental practice in Kansas City, KS, to have a consultation with our dentists, Dr. Moreno and Dr. Tejada. Please call us at (913) 647-1900 or schedule an online consultation, and we'll guide you further.