Learn what to avoid to protect your teeth
While you use your teeth over and over throughout the day, certain things you do can harm your teeth. Read on to learn what to avoid doing and tips for correcting these habits.
Some people grind or clench their teeth while sleeping or feeling anxious. This is also called bruxism. If you’re grinding your teeth while sleeping, you may not know you’re doing it. But if you wake up with a headache or your jaw hurts, chances are you’re grinding your teeth while you’re asleep. Over time, this can cause sensitivity and even fractures. Your dentist should be able to see signs of this problem. You can use a special mouth guard to prevent bruxism.
- Chewing ice
It may feel refreshing to chew on ice, but doing this on a regular basis can damage the teeth and lead to unnecessary pain. Chill your drinks ahead of time to satisfy that need for something extra cold.
- Using your teeth to open a package, bottle, etc.
Opening a bottle of soda or a bag of chips with your teeth can chip, fracture, and break your teeth. Use scissors or a bottle opener instead and avoid any unnecessary trips to the dentist or doctor.
- Snacking all day
If you enjoy snacking throughout the day, you may want to change this habit. Constant snacking allows sugar to break down and build up on your teeth. This puts you at a higher risk for developing cavities. Consider eating larger amounts of food during each meal of the day so you don’t feel like snacking as often. Drink plenty of water between meals as well.
- Sucking your thumb
Many kids suck their thumb as a soothing mechanism. Around age 3, health care providers believe you should help your child break this habit before it starts causing harm. It can lead to permanent changes to the teeth and jaw. Thumb-sucking can also allow harmful germs to enter the mouth. Consider using a sticker reward chart to help your child drop this habit or speak to your child’s dentist or pediatrician for other tips.
- Brushing too hard
It’s great to clean your teeth every day! Just make sure you’re doing it the right way. Brushing your teeth too hard might seem like a great way to clean the plaque off your teeth, but it can actually wear away the enamel of your teeth. It can also weaken your gums. Children often brush their teeth too hard. Remind them that softly brushing their teeth does the job well. Also, be sure to choose a soft-bristled toothbrush.
We always hear that smoking is bad for your health. It’s also harmful to your mouth. Not only does smoking cause bad breath, it stains your teeth and makes them look yellow. Smoking also weakens your immune system, which increases your chance of developing gum disease and oral cancer – just a few more reasons to quit this habit.
- Biting your nails
Nail-biting can damage the roots of your teeth and the bone holding each tooth in place. It can also allow more bad bacteria to enter the mouth, which can increase your chance of developing an infection. There are lots of inexpensive fidget toys for children and adults on the market, which can serve as a distraction or alternative thing to do with your fingers and hands.