As much as many of us care for our teeth through brushing and flossing, we all resort to bad habits that are damaging the health of our teeth.
Bad habits are easy to develop but, unfortunately, are difficult to break. What some people don’t realize is that there are certain common habits that you appear harmless but actually have a significant impact on your smile.
There are a hundred different things that we do every day which put pressure on our teeth. While some of these things are unavoidable, many can be prevented.
If you want to maintain a healthy smile, there are some things that you need to steer clear of. This might be tricky at first, because breaking any kind of habit is tough. If it were simple, it wouldn’t be a ‘habit.’
Dentists in India are regularly counseling parents to watch out for habits in their children so they don’t get unnoticed.
Keeping permanent teeth is important as you age. In fact, we may be unaware of how certain habits can damage the gums and teeth such as the following-
Nail biting has the potential for tooth chipping or wearing down overtime. Not only it can cause chipping or cracking of teeth but also increase the risk of consuming a wide variety of harmful bacteria. This nervous habit is also problematic for your jaw. Placing your jaw for long periods of time in a protruding position while biting your nails can place pressure on it, which can lead to jaw dysfunction.
Under your fingernails are hundreds of bacteria that can make a home in your mouth, leading to an infection in your mouth and gums. It could potentially cause other problems with your physical health, too.
Brushing Too Hard
Brushing twice a day is one of the best habits you can get into. But make sure you are not very aggressive with your brushing. A lot of people believe the harder and faster you brush, the more efficient clearing away of plaque and quicker and the task gets done. In reality brushing with a hard toothbrush or brushing too hard is more harmful than ever for your teeth as it can damage your teeth, tooth enamel and can irritate your gums.
Brushing at a moderate pace, with a soft toothbrush twice a day is best.
Jaw clenching and tooth grinding
Jaw clenching and tooth grinding are habits some may not even know they are participating in as they often happen unconsciously during sleep. This is a really common habit and one of the hardest to beat. Sometimes, we clench our jaws when stressed, anxious, or angry.
This can cause deterioration of the teeth by wearing down the enamel of the teeth and can risk jaw pain, muscle tenderness, headaches and misaligned jaw. You might also feel like you can’t open your mouth wide or chew with pain.
Thus, reducing such can aid in eliminating teeth grinding and clenching problems. Combating these problems by opting for a night guard can ensure your teeth are safer from damage from tooth grinding and/or jaw clenching.
Chewing on ice
It is common to chew on ice to quench thirst or as a habit after finishing your beverage in an ice-filled glass. However, this can damage the enamel of your teeth because ice has a crystalline structure and so does your tooth enamel, causing one of the two to break.
Chewing on ice may create small cracks in tooth enamel. Also it can cause serious damage to braces, fillings and crowns.
Avoid chewing on ice as much as possible to create a less dangerous habit for your teeth.
Using Your Teeth As Tools
Your teeth were made for eating, not to hold things or use teeth as tools like opening up packaging or bottles with your teeth. When you do this, you seriously put yourself at a higher risk of injuring your teeth or accidentally swallowing something you shouldn’t.
Our teeth can become chipped or worn down by excessively biting or holding pencils between our teeth; many partake in this bad habit because of stress. Many people develop this habit early in childhood, and some do not even realize they are doing it.
Opening a product with scissors or a knife is safer, so eliminating such habits would protect your teeth and your teeth will thank you.
Even a mild smoking habit can be ruinous for the health of teeth and gum tissues.
Tobacco-containing products such as cigarettes can increase one’s chances of developing gum disease and your risk for oral-related cancers.
Tobacco can stain the teeth permanently and may cause your teeth to become yellow, gums to recede, can alter the taste sensation and can cause bad breath.
Smoking also leads to chronic lesions and sores on the inside of the mouth. Smoking is a disaster for oral health.
Limiting or quitting smoking or use of other tobacco products can greatly help your oral standing. You need to kick the habit before any permanent damage is done.
Thumb sucking is a bad habit which can damage the alignment of the teeth overtime, often cause an overbite for many individuals. Thumb-sucking can cause crooked teeth and a misaligned bite.
Some claim that thumb-sucking helps them deal with stress, cope with difficult situations or fall asleep.
Thumb sucking can be prevented at all ages. The earlier, the better. Keeping your child’s hands busy is one potential solution of this bad habit.
Habit breaking appliances is becoming a routine treatment in dental clinics in India.
Eating foods with too much acid/ drinking soda or alcoholic beverages
Consuming too many acidic food products with acidic pH and high sugar content such as sodas, sport drinks or leaving an acidic food product to sit on the teeth can lead to enamel deterioration, cavities, tooth sensitivity, and other problems in the mouth.
Furthermore, alcohol is also acidic and can wreck the enamel of the teeth. Also too much alcohol consumption can lead to dry mouth by minimizing the production of saliva. A dry mouth increases cavity risk and can lead to bad breath because the mouth cannot properly wash away smelly, harmful oral bacteria.
Remember not to brush until at least a half hour after consumption of something acidic to prevent further deterioration.
Rinsing your mouth out with water afterwards may help to reduce the risk of the acid and sugar damaging your smile.
Giving Babies Bottles in Bed
Giving a baby a bedtime bottle of milk, or formula, in hand overnight can put new teeth on a path to decay. The baby may become used to falling asleep with the bottle in his or her mouth. It keeps them calm, soothes their anxiety about being left alone, and helps them sleep.
But it also plays havoc with the teeth. It is always best to leave bottles with just water. Otherwise, the child will keep sipping at the milk or formula and bathe their teeth in sugar. This sugar will then turn into plaque and will lead to tooth decay.
Such habits can interfere with you having a healthy smile. Because of the increasing awareness young kids are getting habit breaking appliances in reputed dental clinics in Delhi.
There is no faster way to put your teeth and gums in danger than to neglect the need for regular exams and consultations.
It is the best way to spot signs of danger early and the quickest way to receive treatment, if necessary
Dentists in Delhi are giving counseling appointments to their patients (both adults and children) to educate them about ill effects of these habits.
They thus get motivated to discontinue their habits sometimes, even without using the habit breaking appliance.
Posted by- Dr Suprriya and Dr Shriya