Your oral health is in your hands. Your daily habits can positively or negatively affect your overall oral health. Listed below are some bad oral habits that can affect your oral health.
If you bite your fingernails, you are putting your teeth at risk for damage. Chewing on hard objects wears down enamel over time and breaks off shards from the tooth’s exterior. Over time, these small chips can build up and create small holes in your tooth’s surface. These holes will eventually become cavities and need to be treated to prevent more serious oral health problems. Biting the nails can also cause the gums to recede, which can lead to other problems such as gum disease, root decay, and even tooth loss. Your dentist can discuss treatment options that will help alleviate the urge to bite your nails. This may include the use of anti-anxiety medications, stress management techniques, etc.
Tobacco products contain highly addictive nicotine and over 4,000 other chemicals that can cause cancer and other health problems. Smoking also stains your teeth and causes bad breath. When you smoke cigarettes, you also inhale toxic chemicals that can damage your lungs and heart. Cigarette smoke is harmful even if you only do it occasionally.
Quitting smoking is difficult but worth it. Ask your dentist for help or for information on smoking cessation programs in your area. Nicotine gum and patches are also available to help smokers quit the habit. Sometimes these methods aren’t enough, and you may need more intensive treatment such as counseling, medicine, or behavior modification.
Regardless of how long you have smoked a cigarette, quitting can greatly reduce your risk for lung cancer and many other diseases, and it can even improve your dental health.
While brushing your teeth is important as it removes plaque that causes cavities and gum disease, it can be harmful if you brush too vigorously. You may end up wearing down your tooth enamel or irritating your gums. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day. Avoid brushing too hard, as this can cause abrasion to tooth surfaces.
When someone grinds their teeth at night or clenches their jaw during the day, they are potentially putting themselves at risk for headaches, neck pain, and tooth damage. If the dentist notices signs of teeth grinding during an exam, they may recommend a custom nightguard to protect your teeth from serious harm. The nightguard is worn while you sleep to help relax your muscles and reduce tension in your jaw. This can help to prevent your upper and lower teeth from rubbing together, which will eventually wear down the enamel on your teeth.
Have you ever used your teeth to unscrew the top off a water bottle? What about tearing a package or taking a pen cap off with your teeth instead of your fingers? All of these can be damaging to your oral health and can lead to severe consequences such as damaged teeth and tooth loss.
To learn more, schedule an appointment today at J. Russell Danner, DDS in Oklahoma City, by calling 405-749-1676.