Everyday Habits That Harm Your Smile

Everyday Habits That Harm Your Smile

Posted by Yoon Choi on Jan 15 2023, 11:35 PM

Bad habits can take a toll on our oral health. Over time, these bad habits can lead to various dental issues. Listed below are some bad oral habits that you should avoid.

  • Using Teeth As Tools

Many people use their teeth as tools without even realizing it, often during inappropriate times. For example, you might use your teeth to open packages or tear off tags from clothes. These activities can cause chipped teeth and even tooth fractures and breakage over time. It's best to avoid the use of your teeth for anything other than chewing food until you have completed orthodontic treatment or if you have fractured a tooth. If your broken tooth is causing you pain, call our dentist immediately for treatment recommendations.

  • Chewing Ice Cubes

Ice is a very hard substance and can lead to cracked teeth or enamel wear over time. It's best to stick to water when snacking between meals and drink sugary beverages through a straw in order to minimize the damage to your teeth. 

Ice chewing can also risk broken crowns or fillings. If you use your crown as a tool to chip the ice away, you can damage its structural integrity. If you break your tooth while eating hard foods or ice, don't wait to call your dentist; waiting too long could lead to further complications like infections.

  • Frequent Snacking

When we snack in between meals, we are putting our teeth at risk of damage by exposing them to foods and drinks that we don't want to consume in larger portions. This includes crunchy foods such as popcorn or gummy candy, which can crack the protective layer of our tooth enamel and expose the sensitive inner layer of the tooth to bacteria-causing cavities. Try to limit snacking between meals to reduce the amount of time your teeth are exposed to foods that contain sugar, acid, or starch and avoid foods that are high in carbohydrates and sugars. Instead, we recommend sticking to cheese sticks, high-protein yogurt, nuts, vegetables with hummus, or even fresh veggies with some dip! These foods are healthier for your teeth and won't cause as much damage to their surface.

  • Thumb Sucking

Thumb sucking is a common habit in children and is perfectly normal. However, prolonged thumb sucking can lead to misalignment of the teeth and the development of bite issues. If thumb sucking continues past the age of five, the dentist or orthodontist may recommend stopping the habit. Prolonged thumb sucking can also cause the front teeth to protrude and the lower jaw to become misaligned. This can become an issue as the jaw continues to grow and could require orthodontic treatment to straighten the teeth later in life. In some cases, thumb sucking may cause harm to the roof of the mouth as well.

When your child is an infant, try to create an environment where thumb-sucking isn't encouraged. In most cases, children stop thumb-sucking on their own around the age of four. If your child is still sucking their thumb when they enter kindergarten, talk to your child's dentist about your concerns. They may offer some suggestions to help break the habit.

  • Teeth Grinding

Bruxism, or teeth grinding, is a harmful habit that can lead to tooth damage and jaw pain. Some people grind their teeth while they sleep, but there are also many people who grind during the day while they are awake. Unfortunately, many people don't realize that they are even doing it until their dentist tells them!

The habit of teeth grinding can cause severe wear and tear on your teeth and can even result in broken fillings and crowns or even cracked teeth. In some cases, bruxism can even lead to temporomandibular joint disorder, which occurs when the joints of the jaw become inflamed and cause pain when moving. If your bruxism has caused you discomfort, talk to your dentist about treatments such as mouthguards or night guards.

  • Brushing Too Hard

When you brush your teeth too aggressively, you can damage your gum tissue and tooth enamel. Enamel is the hard outer layer of the teeth that protects the tooth from decay. If too much pressure is applied to the teeth when brushing, it can wear away at the enamel and cause erosion.

As per the American Dental Association, you should hold a soft-bristled toothbrush at a 45-degree angle and gently brush the surfaces of the teeth using short back-and-forth motions. This helps remove plaque and food particles without damaging your teeth or gums.

For the best dental care in San Jose, CA, call (408) 243-4216, schedule an appointment, or visit us at 251 O'Connor Drive Suite #3, San Jose, CA 95128.

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