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Although individuals may be following the homecare instructions recommended by their dentist to maintain a healthy smile, they may still be partaking in behavior that’s not beneficial to their teeth. There are a couple of hazardous habits that individuals may be practicing and are completely unaware that these habits can damage the teeth in the long run. Below is a list of what not to do if one’s goal is to maintain a long-lasting healthy smile.
Habits to Avoid
- Nail Biting – Biting nails is a common nervous habit that millions of Americans partake in. However, over time this habit can chip the teeth and affect the jaw. Keeping the jaw in this type of position for extended periods of time can lead to jaw dysfunction. To avoid his habit, individuals can try painting their nails with bitter-tasting nail polish, reducing their stress, and setting small goals to help them prevent themselves from messing up their oral health in the future.
- Hard Brushing – Although dentists recommend for everyone to brush twice daily, it’s imperative that individuals aren’t brushing too hard; otherwise, they will damage and irritate their teeth and gums. To avoid this habit, individuals could purchase a soft toothbrush that has the ADA Seal of Acceptance, and not scrub when they brush.
- Grinding the Teeth – This habit can cause the teeth to chip or crack, along with muscle tenderness and joint pain. Individuals may even feel as though they’re unable to open their mouth wide or chew without experiencing pain. To avoid this habit, individuals can practice relaxation exercises and practice being aware of whenever they feel like clenching or grinding.
- Chewing on Ice – Although chewing ice appears to be harmless, after a while, it wears off the enamel and sometimes causes the tooth or filling to collapse, since it leads to teeth becoming brittle and dehydrated. The best solution for this habit would be to avoid putting ice in drinks and use a straw to avoid the temptation.
- Snacking on Sugary Foods – Snacking all day on sugary foods and drinks puts individuals at a higher risk of developing cavities because, whenever one eats, cavity-causing bacteria eats on the leftover food stuck on the teeth. While it eats, it produces an acid that destroys the teeth’s enamel, the outer layer. To avoid this habit, individuals should opt for eating balanced meals to feel fuller for longer periods of time. If one does need to snack, they should choose foods low on sugar. Drinking lots of water after eating will wash away any excess food.
- Using Teeth as Tools – Sometimes, individuals may use their teeth to open items or hold things. However, practicing this habit could cause the teeth to get cracked or the jaw to get injured. To avoid this habit, it’s vital for individuals not to put things in their mouth aside from food.
San Diego General & Family Dentistry
At McBride Dental, we offer a number of dental services to help families maintain healthy and long-lasting smiles. For those who either don’t practice good homecare oral hygiene habits or who do but still partake in any of the bad habits listed above, we can help get the teeth back on track. Some of our services include dental cleanings and exams, dental implants and crowns, gum disease treatment, and preventative care. If you’re in the San Diego area and need oral care treatment, call 760-471-1003 to schedule an appointment with us today.