Despite our best efforts, sometimes our oral habits can have a negative impact on our oral health. Even some seemingly harmless habits, such as nail biting, using teeth as tools, or chewing ice cubes, can have lasting negative effects.

Nail Biting

Nail biting is a common bad habit that can affect our oral health. This behavior is often triggered by stress or anxiety, and it can also accompany particular conditions like ADHD and a lack of sleep. Nail biting may be a way to cope with these negative emotions. If nail biting continues for an extended period of time, the enamel can be worn down, and the fingertips may become infected due to bacteria or the buildup of debris. Nail-biting can also cause permanent damage to the teeth and jaw, as well as frequent headaches. If you notice that you’re biting your nails more often than normal, consider talking to your dentist about ways to stop this behavior.

You can stop feeling anxious and eliminate your need to bite your nails by trying some simple relaxation techniques or breathing deeply for a few minutes whenever you feel stressed. You can also avoid situations where you may have the urge to bite your nails by keeping your nails cut short. If you often find yourself biting your nails when you’re bored, try practicing mindfulness exercises or engaging in a new hobby. If you’re struggling with a diagnosed disorder such as ADHD, ask your doctor for medication options or other positive coping methods.

Using Teeth As Tools

Many people use their teeth as tools every day without even realizing it. However, that habit can be detrimental to your oral health. There are several things you shouldn’t use your teeth for, including:

  • Opening a beverage bottle
  • Unwrapping packages
  • Tearing cloth tags

When you use your teeth as tools, you’re putting unnecessary pressure on your teeth and wearing them down. You could be causing chips and cracks to form in your teeth, as well as loosening your tooth enamel over time. This can result in additional dental problems down the road. If you’d like to prevent chipping and cracking of your teeth, stop using teeth for purposes other than eating and speaking and use appropriate tools instead.

Chewing Ice Cubes

While ice is refreshing on a hot summer day, chewing on ice can be bad for your teeth. Ice is hard, and the constant chipping away at the ice can chip or crack your teeth. A cracked tooth is an open invitation to tooth decay and infection. The cold temperature of ice is also damaging to sensitive teeth. Many people love crunching on ice cubes, but it is better for your teeth if you stop it at the earliest.

Thumb Sucking

Thumb sucking is a normal habit for babies and toddlers. However, if they continue to suck their thumb into adulthood, it can lead to issues with your teeth, such as crooked or protruding teeth, an overbite or underbite, and even TMJ disorder. Some children stop on their own, but others need professional intervention to help break the habit. If you or your child need help to break this habit, talk to your dentist about treatment options.

Teeth Grinding

Teeth grinding is a fairly common condition that occurs during sleep. It often goes unnoticed by the individual until their partner complains of the noise at night. Those who grind their teeth may also experience dull headaches or soreness in the morning when they wake up. In some cases, teeth grinding may cause damage to teeth over time if not treated.

One way to prevent this bad habit is to wear a mouthguard when you sleep. The mouth guard will put pressure on your jaw and help to prevent you from clenching down onto your teeth while you sleep. Mouthguards are also helpful for people who suffer from sleep apnea.

Brushing Too Hard

Many people believe that they brush too hard when they feel mild discomfort or slight bleeding in the gums. However, brushing your teeth too hard can actually damage your gums and cause them to recede, exposing the roots of the teeth. This can cause sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures and may make the roots appear longer. The teeth may also appear more yellow in color, and the enamel can wear down faster. Working the toothbrush back and forth along the gum line can also cause irritation to the gum tissues.

The best way to brush your teeth is at a 45-degree angle along your gum line in small circular motions. Make sure to use a soft-bristled toothbrush and gentle pressure. Make sure to be very thorough in removing plaque from the tooth surfaces and between the teeth. Flossing should also be performed at least once a day to remove all food particles and even plaque from between the teeth and under the gum line. If proper flossing techniques are not carried out, plaque and food particles can accumulate and cause tooth decay and gum disease.

To learn more, book your appointment today by giving us a call at (669) 327-5623 or visit Impressions Dentistry at 1325 1st Street, Gilroy, CA 95020.

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