If you don’t brush and floss regularly, you are courting tooth decay and cavities. We hear this all the time, and we know it’s intrinsic to our health to follow these directions. However, there are many other things you may be doing that you don’t even realize are damaging your teeth and gums. Here’s a list of six habits that can cause your teeth serious trouble:
Aside from ruining your nails and making it hard to pick up coins without help, nail biting can cause a lot of damage to your mouth. Chronic nail biting can cause your teeth to shift position. You may splinter the enamel of a tooth or cause it to break or chip. If your finger slips, the sharp edge of the bitten nail can tear open gums and expose them to germs and infections.
Just because you’re using it for health reasons doesn’t mean it is good for all of you. Sports drinks are often laden with sugar, making them far less healthy than you think. Another carrier of hidden sugar is cough drops. While they do an excellent job soothing your throat while you’re sick, the sugar in them lingers in the mouth and can feed the bacteria responsible for plaque. Try to brush after taking one, or at least rinse your mouth with water to help wash the sugar away
Using your Teeth as a Tool
Your teeth are not designed to open packages or cut through tape when you forget your scissors. Using your teeth instead of the proper tools for the job can cause a lot of damage. You could ruin any previous dental work done or even cause your teeth to crack under the strain.
Brushing Too Hard
Brushing every day is important, but be careful about how hard you press. Too much pressure can wear down the enamel of the teeth and cause sensitivity. It can even cause the cavities you are trying to prevent. To help protect against this, try to use a brush with soft bristles. Brushes with the ADA logo are considered strong enough to remove plaque but soft enough not to cause harm.
Clenching Your Jaw
Many people will grind their teeth or clench their jaw when they are stressed, or even get into a bad habit where they do it unconsciously. This puts a lot of stress on the jaw and can lead to microfractures in your teeth, or even full cracks. The pressure can also damage dental work you’ve had done, and can put undue stress and pressure on your gums, causing them to split and recede. Try to relax if you feel yourself clenching your teeth. If you do it in your sleep, your dentist can give you a mouthguard to protect your mouth at night.
Good oral hygiene means more than brushing and flossing twice a day. Make sure to avoid any habits that might put your mouth in danger to keep your teeth strong and your gums healthy.