6 Bad Habits That Can Damage Your Teeth


It's common to develop bad habits as we get older. Some habits are harmless, while others can take a toll on our oral health. Listed below are a few bad habits that can negatively affect your oral health.

Nail Biting

Nail biting is a bad habit that can cause teeth fracture and loss. When you bite your nails, you exert a tremendous amount of pressure on your teeth. This pressure can crack or break a tooth. If you chip your tooth, it can lead to the need for root canal treatment and a dental crown for repair. If a break occurs, the trauma of the injury is dependent upon the location of the crack. Teeth located towards the front of the mouth are more likely to be damaged due to the constant force exerted when you bite your nails. The bacteria that build up under broken fillings can also lead to infections. 

Skipping Flossing

Although brushing your teeth thoroughly is important, flossing is also an essential part of your oral health routine. Failing to floss can lead to plaque buildup between teeth, which will eventually lead to gum disease and tooth decay.

Plaque buildup can also lead to other oral health issues, including bad breath and yellowed or discolored teeth. If you don't brush and floss regularly, bacteria will begin to build up in your mouth. This bacteria is what causes your breath to smell bad and causes your teeth to become yellow or discolored over time. The bacteria can also eat away at your enamel and cause cavities in your teeth.

By neglecting to brush and floss, you are putting your smile at risk. Be sure to make time to properly clean your mouth as part of your oral hygiene regimen!

Teeth Grinding

Many people struggle with bruxism, which is the unconscious clenching or grinding of your teeth. Over time, this can cause damage to your teeth and wear down enamel. In addition to wearing down the enamel, many people also experience headaches as a result of their teeth grinding at night. If you suspect that you grind your teeth while you sleep, you should consult with your dentist about getting fitted for a night guard to protect your teeth from further wear.

Using Teeth As Tools

Using teeth as tools can cause damage over time. A common example of this is using your teeth to open bags or bottles. Although it may seem harmless, it can actually wear down your enamel and weaken your teeth. This can lead to tooth fractures and the need for restorative dentistry treatment. Your best bet is to invest in a good pair of scissors for opening any packages you receive. Or try asking for scissors at restaurants that may not have them available. Another option would be to use your hands instead of your teeth to open the bag or bottle. This will prevent the possibility of damaging your teeth in the future.

Chewing Ice Cubes

Some people enjoy chewing ice cubes, whether they're enjoying the cold crunch or using them to keep themselves from eating something unhealthy. Unfortunately, this can cause tooth damage that may require restorative dental care to fix.

While ice is sugar-free and relatively harmless to your enamel, the action of biting down on ice can crack your teeth. This can also weaken your tooth structure by causing uneven wear on your teeth. Biting down on a hard substance puts your jaw and teeth under strain, which can result in headaches or even TMJ disorder.

Frequent Snacking

While snacking isn't necessarily a bad thing, there are certain snacks that can harm our oral health. Sticky candies or treats like caramel and gummy bears cling to your teeth and can get stuck in between teeth or behind the molars. When this is the case, this can leave acids on your teeth for an extended period of time. This can damage enamel and eat away at tooth structure.

For foods that get lodged in your teeth, brush well after you've finished eating. If you can't brush the contact area immediately, consider rinsing your mouth or chewing sugar-free gum to dislodge the food from your mouth.

Healthy snacks include vegetables, fruits, cheese, nuts, plain yogurt, hummus, etc. These foods won't harm your teeth as long as they're eaten in moderation. If you enjoy snacking at night, try brushing or rinsing with water or a mouth rinse after you finish eating to help minimize the sticky residue left behind.

To learn more, call us at 904-794-1000 and arrange a visit with us at Dental Specialists of North Florida. We can help you determine the right treatment option for you!

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