Oral health impacts your overall health. Poor oral health can result in serious illnesses like heart disease and strokes. Listed below are some habits that can damage your oral health:
Chewing on nails is a habit that many kids and adults develop at some point in their lives. It’s often done subconsciously; the person is doing something with his hands and bites down on them without even realizing it. This type of behavior can lead to fractured or damaged teeth and can sometimes cause a malocclusion, where the teeth are misaligned. Biting nails can cause chipped teeth, broken crowns, or even a painful jaw. While it may not be easy to break the cycle, try distracting yourself with another activity to keep your hands busy.
Cigarettes are one of the worst offenders when it comes to our dental health. They contain nicotine and tar that can stain your teeth, cause bad breath and even lead to oral cancer. On top of that, smoking can cause your teeth to become discolored, chipped, or cracked. Plus, it can even shrink your jawbone, causing you to appear older than you actually are.
If you’re a smoker, your dentist can help you quit the habit. They can offer suggestions such as patches or gum to help with the cravings. They may also recommend using prescription medicine to help with withdrawal symptoms. In some cases, they may even be able to refer you to a specialist to help you through the quitting process.
If you brush your teeth too harshly, it can lead to receding gums and/or enamel wear. Enamel is the outer layer of your teeth that protects the dentin layer underneath. Unfortunately, if you use pressure to brush them too hard, you can damage that protective layer and make your teeth more susceptible to decay and sensitivity.
Use a toothbrush with a soft head instead of a hard-bristled one to protect your enamel. A soft-bristled toothbrush will not cause as much abrasion against the tooth surface. Plus, it’s more effective in removing plaque and food debris from the crevices between your teeth. Use gentle strokes when you brush your teeth. Move the toothbrush in small circles around each tooth. Don’t use too much pressure or hold the brush in a vertical position for too long because this can cause gum recession.
Teeth grinding and clenching often occur mostly at night when we are sleeping. Many people will grind their teeth lightly and never even notice. However, the habit can cause tooth wear and damage, and jaw pains. It can even damage your fillings if the force is high. If you have the habit of teeth grinding, it may be worth looking into getting a night guard to protect your teeth from wearing over time. The mouthguard will keep the teeth separated and help to prevent damage to the teeth and jaw muscles. This will also help to improve sleep patterns and reduce any associated symptoms.
Your teeth are not scissors or pliers—don’t use them to open packages or remove tags from clothing! This habit creates wear and tear on your teeth, which can lead to chips, fractures, and cracks in your smile. If you habitually use your teeth as tools, stop the habit and use appropriate tools instead.
Without going to the dentist to have your teeth examined and treated when needed, you are at an increased risk of developing many oral health issues. For example, gingivitis and cavities can develop when you do not visit your dentist regularly for checkups or cleanings. If your teeth and gums are not being carefully and thoroughly monitored, plaque can build up and quickly turn into tartar, which is very difficult to remove without professional assistance. Regular visits allow your hygienist to thoroughly clean out your mouth and remove all of the tartar from your teeth. If left untreated, this can lead to the development of periodontal disease, which can be severe and require extensive treatment to resolve and restore your oral health. Additionally, regular visits to your dentist help identify other health concerns that may be present in your mouth.
To learn more about maintaining your oral health, call us at (718) 459-4700 or visit Creative Dental of Queens at 63-58 Wetherole St, Rego Park, NY 11374.