Your teeth are designed to last a lifetime with proper care. But bad habits, such as grinding and improper brushing, can really take a toll on your teeth. Tooth decay, gum disease, fractured teeth and even tooth loss are just a few of the negative consequences that result from bad oral habits. Here's a look at some common habits that can hurt your oral health and some easy ways to stop these behaviors.
Common habits that are hurting your oral health:
- Harsh brushing - Brushing your teeth too harshly can rub away your tooth's enamel and irritate your gums.
- Teeth grinding - If you're guilty of clenching or grinding your teeth, you may be hurting your teeth and jaw. Grinding can lead to TMJ (temporomandibular joint) issues, headaches and fractured teeth over time.
- Constant snacking - Grazing on food all day, especially those that are high in sugar, can wreak havoc on your teeth. The result is a constant attack on the teeth that breaks down the enamel and produces cavities.
- Treating teeth like tools - It may be convenient to rip open a bag of potato chips with your teeth, but treating teeth like scissors can lead to chipped, fractured or even lost teeth.
- Using tobacco - Smoking and other tobacco products are not only bad for your general health, they're bad for your teeth, too! Studies show that people who smoke are at a greater risk for decay and gum disease
Put an end to bad oral habits.
The first step to breaking bad oral habits is to simply be aware of the behaviors that are hurting your teeth in the first place. For starters, make sure you visit a dentist for regular checkups and cleanings. Your dentist can spot issues in their early stages and recommend the best course of treatment before it gets worse. Other tips to combat bad oral habits include:
- Practice proper brushing techniques. Use a soft-bristled brush to gently clean all surfaces of your teeth at least twice a day.
- If you grind your teeth, talk to your dentist about night guards that help protect the teeth from the harmful impact of clenching when you sleep.
- Eat a well-balanced diet, including lean proteins, low-fat dairy, fresh fruits and raw vegetables that provide the nutrients you need to maintain strong teeth. Avoid between-meal snacking, and limit the amount of sugary foods and drinks you consume on a daily basis.
- If you smoke, talk to your doctor about how to stop. Giving up tobacco products will benefit your teeth/smile and your total body health.
- Have pliers or scissors readily available so that you never have to rely on your teeth to open packages - or use them for other tough jobs that require tools.
Don't let bad oral habits ruin your teeth. Take steps now to stop these habits before they turn into major issues. If you need help addressing your oral habits or want to learn more about treatment for existing dental concerns, we can help! Contact McLean DDS today to schedule your next visit.