Good dental hygiene habits are essential for maintaining good oral health. Many dental problems can be avoided by practicing good dental hygiene. However, there are certain habits that can damage our oral health. Here are some of them:
- Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)
Many people grind or clench their teeth while sleeping without even realizing it. This is a bad habit that can damage your oral health. When your teeth touch together over and over again throughout the night, they can wear down and become cracked or broken. And the constant force on your jaw can cause temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ disorder) over time. If you suspect you suffer from bruxism, talk to your dentist about using a mouthguard at night to prevent further damage.
While you’re awake, you can also develop a habit of clenching your jaw or grinding your teeth. A tense jaw and sore facial muscles are a symptom of stress, which is a popular trigger for teeth grinding and TMJ disorders. If you deal with a lot of stress, find ways to relax your body before going to sleep. Try taking a warm bath, meditating, drinking tea with honey, or taking muscle relaxants before going to bed.
- Chewing Ice
While the idea of it is fun, chewing on ice can chip or crack your teeth. Chewing on hard objects like this can lead to cracked teeth and broken dental work, so it’s best to avoid this habit altogether. It can also damage your jaw joint!
In addition to damaging your smile, eating ice can cause tooth sensitivity and even tooth loss if it breaks off and gets stuck in your gums. The cold temperature can also cause cracks to form in the enamel of your teeth, which can leave your teeth vulnerable to tooth decay.
If you do chew on ice, be sure to schedule a visit to your dentist for an examination. He or she can identify any damage to the teeth and let you know if you need treatment before it gets worse. For example, you may need a tooth-colored filling to repair a crack in your tooth.
- Nail Biting
When nail biting becomes a bad habit, it puts excessive force on the front teeth, which can damage your teeth – even after you stop biting your nails! If that isn’t reason enough to kick the habit, remember that it’s unsanitary to leave visible traces of your fingernails in your mouth.
If you bite your nails and find that you’re unable to break this habit on your own, talk to your dentist and get help to prevent you from using your dominant hand to bite your nails.
- Using Teeth As Tools
When people use their teeth for anything other than eating and speaking, it puts stress on the teeth and gums. Using your teeth to open bottles, chew on pencils/pens, rip open packages or tear the tape of boxes can lead to cracking and chipping and even loosening of teeth over time. This is why it’s important to avoid these habits whenever possible!
- Aggressive Brushing
Overbrushing and using a hard-bristled toothbrush can damage your teeth and irritate your gums. You should also avoid brushing too aggressively if you have sensitive gums. It’s important to be gentle with gums because inflamed gum tissue can be painful and lead to the formation of infection. If you are experiencing bleeding, tenderness, and/or chronic bad breath, you might be brushing too hard. To prevent this, pay close attention to your brushing technique and make sure that you are holding the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle. Point the bristles toward the surface of each tooth and gently brush them in small circles. It’s also a good idea to start slower and end faster when brushing so that you give your teeth and gums time to calm down before you stop brushing.
Please schedule an appointment online or call us at (503) 581-2446 to consult with our dentist, Dr. Giruc, and we will be happy to assist you further.