6 Habits That Can Harm Our Oral Health

Oral care is the key to strong and healthy teeth. However, there are certain habits that are bad for our teeth and gums. Here are a few habits that can harm our oral health.

  • Brushing too hard

The American Dental Association recommends brushing with a soft-bristled toothbrush for two minutes twice a day and flossing at least once a day. However, brushing your teeth hard can damage your teeth’ enamel. Enamel is the hard outer layer that covers your pearly whites and protects them from bacteria and debris. When damaged, teeth can become sensitive to hot or cold temperatures as well as sharp foods. This can lead to tooth pain and cavities that may require fillings to treat.

You should also avoid using a hard-bristled toothbrush because it can damage your teeth and gums in a similar manner by wearing down the protective layer of enamel over time. The harder bristles can also irritate your gums and lead to gum recession, which exposes the root of your tooth to the elements and causes irritation and pain.

  • Nail biting

Nail biting is a common habit that can cause stress fractures in the teeth, which are small hairline cracks on the tooth. This weakens the tooth and makes it more likely to break in the future.

  • Chewing ice

Chewing on ice can be bad for our teeth. It can chip our enamel and make our teeth more sensitive. Instead of chewing on the ice, try drinking water during meals to quench your thirst without harming your smile.

  • Clenching or grinding your teeth

It is estimated that around at least 10% of adults and as many as 40% of children will grind their teeth while sleeping – also known as bruxism. This condition affects people of all ages and can have many negative effects on oral health. To keep your smile bright and healthy, it’s important to stop this behavior as soon as possible. When you grind your teeth at night, it can cause damage to your teeth by wearing down your enamel and causing fractures in your teeth. This can cause tooth sensitivity as well as significant pain when you consume hot or cold foods and drinks. In more severe cases, you can even suffer from jaw pain or headaches as a result of grinding. Bruxism can also lead to gum recession, which is when the tissue that surrounds and supports the teeth pulls away. This can lead to teeth being stained or even falling out altogether in some cases. If you do suffer from this habit, your dentist will most likely recommend a night guard to protect your teeth from further damage.

  • Using tobacco

Did you know that using chewing tobacco and snuff can cause oral cancer? Not only that, tobacco use can affect your oral health in more ways than you know. According to the American Dental Hygienists Association (ADHA), smoking can lead to bad breath, stained teeth, tooth decay, gum disease, and even tooth loss. Some studies even suggest that your risk of oral cancer increases with the number of cigarettes you smoke each day. This is because many tobacco products contain the harmful substance nicotine. Nicotine can stain your teeth and cause oral tissue irritation that can lead to oral cancer. Plus, chewing tobacco can irritate your gums, leading to sore gums that bleed easily. This can lead to gingivitis, an early form of gum disease. Gum disease has been linked to other health complications such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, dementia, respiratory infections, osteoporosis, pancreatic cancer, and more.

  • Using your teeth as tools

Teeth aren’t made for opening bottles and can chip or crack when used as tools. This can result in pain and a higher likelihood of decay or infection. Additionally, using your teeth as tools can lead to tooth wear over time. This can lead to more sensitive teeth and increase your risk for tooth decay. It can also lead to excessive damage and breakage of teeth. Broken teeth are painful and require restorative work in order to fix. Save yourself the time and effort of chipping a tooth by using a bottle opener or a pair of scissors to open things.

Valley Dental Surgery & Implant Center offers expert dental care from our dental team led by Dr. Jamah. For more details and scheduling appointments, call us at (707) 532-2441. You can also book online or visit us directly at 4737 Sonoma Hwy B, Santa Rosa, CA 95409.

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