Bad Habits That Can Damage Oral Health

Bad Habits That Can Damage Oral Health

Posted by Northeast Dental Associates on Nov 13 2022, 09:13 PM

Good oral health is an essential component of overall health and well-being. Poor oral health can cause discomfort, affect self-esteem, and lead to other physical health problems. Here are a few habits that can damage our oral health.

  • Smoking

Cigarettes contain over 4,000 chemicals, including at least 60 known carcinogens, according to the Centers for Disease Control and prevention. As if that’s not bad enough, they also contain nicotine, which is highly addictive. This chemical inhibits blood flow, making it harder for your gums to heal after they’ve been injured. In addition, tobacco products can cause cancer in your lips, tongue, cheeks, throat, sinuses, voice box, or lungs, and they can increase your risk of gum disease by two to three times, according to research from the American Academy of Periodontology. Because of this, if you smoke or use other tobacco products, your periodontist may urge you to quit. He may also recommend that you cut back on the number of cigarettes you smoke each day to help minimize the risk of irritation to your gums and oral tissues.

  • Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)

If you grind your teeth, you may actually be doing it in your sleep without even knowing it! This is called bruxism and can be damaging to your oral health if it’s not addressed. If you wake up with a sore jaw or a headache in the morning, you might be waking up from a habit of clenching your jaw and grinding your teeth at night. This can wear down the tooth enamel or cause fillings to break, which will require restorative work to repair and restore your teeth to normal health.

There are multiple ways to treat bruxism besides addressing the stressor that’s causing you to clench your jaw and grind your teeth. You can wear a custom night guard that will act as a barrier between your upper and lower teeth and prevent contact while you rest. You should also avoid chewing gum or eating hard foods that can cause the jaw muscles to contract when you chew them. 

  • Chewing Ice

If you chew on ice, you can crack or chip your teeth. This can also irritate your sensitive gum tissue. Over time, constant irritation can lead to gum disease. Besides, chewing ice can also damage your tooth enamel and lead to cavities.

  • Using Teeth As Tools

This behavior can damage both your teeth and your jaw joints over time. Chewing anything that isn’t food can put unnecessary wear on your tooth enamel and cause chipping or cracking. It’s natural to want to rip open packages with your teeth, but doing so can harm your oral health in the process. Furthermore, you should never use your teeth as a tool to open bottles. If you do have to open something that requires pliers or a bottle opener, be sure to use the tool to avoid putting unnecessary stress on both your mouth and your hands.

  • Aggressive Brushing

While brushing your teeth after a meal is a great way to remove food debris and plaque from the surfaces of your teeth, overly vigorous or harsh movements can damage your enamel in a way that is hard to repair. This can lead to tooth sensitivity and cavities over time. The Mayo Clinic recommends gently cleaning your teeth with a toothbrush that has soft bristles, angling the brush at a 45-degree angle to the gums. Use short strokes to brush the outside surfaces of your teeth, longer strokes to clean the inside surfaces of your teeth and gums, and smaller circular patterns to clean behind your back molars where food and bacteria tend to build up. Always rinse your mouth out with water to remove excess toothpaste and clear away loosened particles of food from your mouth.

You can minimize the risk of damage by using a toothbrush with an ADA Seal of Acceptance. These toothbrushes have demonstrated their efficacy and safety through a thorough third-party evaluation in controlled clinical testing. If you have questions about which toothbrush is best for you, talk to your dentist!

To learn more about good oral health habits, schedule an appointment with Dr. V of Northeast Dental Associates by calling us at (832) 818-8132 or visiting our office at 19411 Mckay Drive, Suite 150, Humble, TX 77338.

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