Some dental practices are beneficial to your teeth, while others are detrimental. But, even with these practices, people can ignore other harmful habits that can harm their teeth, like eating sugary foods.
Here are five common habits that people ignore without realizing they contribute to teeth damage:
- Failing To Brush Teeth Before Bed
Although most people know that they should brush their teeth before going to bed, some ignore this practice. Failing to brush your teeth before bed can damage your pearly whites as it creates a conducive environment for bacteria to multiply throughout the night. There’s little saliva in the mouth to protect the teeth at night.
People who suffer from sleep apnea may open their mouths unconsciously during sleep. This leaves their mouths dry for an extended period, denying them the saliva they need to fight harmful bacteria. This makes your teeth vulnerable to billions of bacteria every night.
The bacteria begin to form and harden into plaque. Due to infrequent brushing, the plaque starts hardening into tartar, which is more difficult to remove by brushing. Tartar makes it difficult to floss and brush your teeth the way you should. It damages teeth by exposing them to cavities and decay.
In some instances, tartar forms just above the gum line. The bacteria in it can irritate the gums and cause extensive damage.
- Biting Nails
Although nail biting may appear safe because many people practice it, it’s harmful to the teeth. Over time, this habit can cause the teeth to chip, and even affect the jaw. People who bite their nails also expose their mouths to bacteria that lurk under the nails. If you find yourself biting your nails frequently, consider practicing stress management techniques, like meditation and exercising to effectively address the issue. Alternatively, apply bitter nail polish on your nails to discourage the practice.
- Ice Cube Chewing
Chewing on ice cubes is a common dental habit, particularly during the summer months when temperatures rise. While it may appear harmless, ice cube chewing can harm your gums, enamel, and teeth. The cold, rigid ice cube temperature can fracture the teeth by chipping or cracking them up. The cold temperatures can damage fillings and any other dental work, like crowns and veneers, you might be having on your teeth.
In addition, ice cubes can damage teeth enamel, leading to increased sensitivity to cold and hot temperatures. People who chew ice cubes also tend to be more vulnerable to tooth decay and cavities. If you experience sensitivity in your teeth, you might think of using sensitive teeth relief gel. It will help in alleviating the pain and discomfort.
To avoid this harmful practice, consider taking chilled beverages with a straw instead. If you must take frosty cubes, allow them to melt in your mouth as opposed to crunching them with your teeth.
- Chewing Or Biting Hard Objects
Teeth have a lot of chewing power, but that doesn’t mean they’re invincible to damage. Chewing or biting hard objects that aren’t food items can damage your teeth. Most people who practice this poor dental habit tend to chew on unpopped popcorn, pens, and pencils, which their teeth can’t handle.
Chewing hard objects damages teeth by cracking, chipping, and, in extreme situations, breaking them entirely. The pressure generated from chewing hard objects also causes teeth to shift. Even if you don’t end up with a broken tooth, your enamel gets damaged as hard objects wear it down. Furthermore, hard things can infect your mouth with germs, leading to gum disease. To avoid damaging your teeth, chew on veggies or sugar-free gums instead of inanimate objects.
- Turning Teeth Into Tools
Another dental practice that’s harmful to your teeth is using them as tools. People who use their teeth to do stuff they’re not meant to do, like cutting off price tags and opening bottles, expose their teeth to cracks and, in worse cases, jaw injuries. This poor dental practice can also weaken the teeth in the long run and result in increased sensitivity.
To avoid harming your teeth by using them for what they’re not designed to do, have fundamental tools, like scissors and bottle openers, at hand, so you don’t fall into the temptation of using your teeth.
- Grinding Teeth
Also known as clenching teeth, teeth grinding occurs subconsciously in most people. Sleep conditions, like sleep apnea, can expose your teeth to damage by increasing your chances of grinding your teeth during sleep.
The situation is aggravated further if you sleep on your back. Besides damaging teeth, grinding teeth can cause muscle pain and even restrict jaw movement. To prevent teeth clenching or grinding, engage in relaxation exercises, or you may use a mouth guard at night.
- Drinking Too Much Beverages
While there’s nothing wrong with taking tea or coffee several times a day, this practice can harm your teeth in the long run. The two beverages can lead to teeth erosion and, ultimately, teeth decay. The sugar in the tea and the acidity in coffee combine with mouth bacteria to create acids that erode the enamel over time.
This exposes the layer beneath it that leads up to the nerve endings, causing teeth sensitivity. Severe erosion of the enamel leads to cavities, tooth decay, and, ultimately, teeth loss. You can prevent teeth damage by replacing your coffee or tea with water. Water has a neutral pH that prevents tooth decay and flushes out food particles that may be stuck between your teeth.
The health of your teeth depends on the dental habits you practice on a day-to-day basis. Healthy practices, like brushing two to three times a day, flossing, drinking water, and avoiding hard objects, can go a long way in enhancing your dental health. The opposite is also true. Ignoring the seven dental practices discussed above can harm your teeth, and even result in teeth loss, in worse cases.