Harmful Dental Habits to Avoid
Daily brushing and flossing are important for healthy teeth and gums. We rely on our teeth to chew, speak properly, and enjoy a self-confident smile. Here are a few important things you need to know about caring for your teeth that will help you maintain them as they support you throughout your lifetime.
Harmful Dental Habits and How to Break Them
Nail Biting – Biting your nails or a hangnail may seem harmless, but this habit can increase the risk of broken teeth, chipped enamel, and may eventually lead to teeth grinding. Also, the bacteria that can enter your body when you bite your nails can lead to oral infections as well as make you sick.
Biting your nails is a habit that may be due to boredom or stress. Keeping nails manicured, using a bitter tasting polish, and keeping nails short may help you to stop. Exercise or meditation may help manage the stressors of your life that lead to anxiety.
Teeth Grinding – Often started subconsciously during periods of sleep, it can become so ingrained that you actually grind your teeth and clench your jaw while awake without even realizing you are doing it. Grinding can lead to worn, broken or chipped teeth. Jaw clenching can result in discomfort in the jaws, headaches, and neck pain.
The solution to teeth grinding may involve several actions. Your dentist will be able to spot if you’re grinding during a dental check-up, and recommend you wear a night guard. This is a great first step, but if you started teeth grinding due to stress, finding solutions and overcoming daily stressors will help also.
Chewing Ice – The need to chew ice actually has a name … pagophagia. But if you just like to munch on ice occasionally, be aware this can lead to chipped enamel, broken teeth, and lost dental fillings.
Habitual ice chewing may mean you are dealing with a vitamin deficiency so further treatment may be needed. But if you just like to munch ice, switch over to baby carrots or apple slices; or try chewing sugar free gum instead.
Good Dental Habits to Develop
If you’ve been neglecting your dental health, it’s never too late to make changes that will improve your dentition. Brush twice daily; floss to reach what your toothbrush missed every day; and visit our team at the office of Dr. Randy Parham twice a year for cleaning and dental exam.