The Top Five Worst Habits for Your Oral Health

How many of these harmful actions can you admit to doing regularly?

Habits can be very challenging to break. But when these habits are detrimental to our health in some shape or form, we should make it a priority to finally put an end to them.

There are a few (relatively common) habits that pose a threat to oral health:

1. Frequent sugary snacking/drinking

It isn’t new news that sugar is terrible for our smiles! When the mouth is regularly exposed to sugary foods or substances, the acid levels in the mouth remain high and the teeth are constantly under attack – which unfortunately, over time, contributes to tooth decay and cavities that require filling.

Limit your consumption of anything sugary throughout the day, and try to chew on acid-neutralizing foods such as a piece of cheese after you eat or sip on something sweet.

Alternatively, you can swish water or milk around in your mouth after consuming these kinds of snacks to help wash the bacterial particles from the teeth while also bringing down the levels of acidity in the mouth, and/or, keep sugar-free chewing gum sweetened with xylitol close by to chew in between snacking.

2. Smoking or chewing tobacco

One of the worst habits for the gums, in particular, is smoking or chewing tobacco. This is because smoking causes a lack of oxygen in the bloodstream, making it harder for the gums to heal from infection, thus contributing to gum disease. Furthermore, smokers are found to have generally higher levels of dental plaque.

Chewing tobacco, on the other hand, affects the gums through accelerating recession or wearing away of the tissue, in addition to damaging the exposed roots of the teeth.

Unfortunately, tobacco-related habits are among the most challenging to quit… but we believe that you can do it! Not only will your oral health significantly improve should you choose to quit, but your overall health will, too (oh, and your wallet will also be thanking you).

3. Nail biting

Believe it or not, a habit as simple as nail biting actually increases the risk of dental chipping, fracture or wear - and can even cause the teeth to gradually shift out of place, which would require orthodontic treatment to resolve. Your enamel is much better off when it isn’t constantly being put under stress.

In addition to these risks, your fingers and nails carry nasty bacteria that can lead to infections of the mouth and throat. If you’re still finding it difficult to keep those fingers out of your mouth, there are certain techniques that may be able to help you quit – including using a bitter-tasting nail polish that’s designed to halt nail biting.

4. Bruxism (teeth grinding)

Some people grind their teeth during sleep, and may not even be aware that they do. If you notice that you regularly wake up with a sore or tender jaw and/or headache in the morning, or, if you simply grind your teeth a lot out of habit - you may have a bruxism problem.

It’s best to consult our dentist to explore treatment options for your teeth grinding problem before you potentially suffer irreversible damage. A night guard or mouth guard can be worn to protect the teeth from any additional wear.

5. Using the teeth as tools, or biting down on hard objects

This is a particularly dangerous habit that comes with a great amount of risk. Using your teeth to twist open a stubborn bottle cap or to cut up packing tape may seem like a smart and easy hack at the time, but accidents happen - and the teeth can suffer greatly.

Protect your teeth from unnecessary damage by keeping your trusty house tools close by, or keep them in multiple rooms for convenience. Oh, and of course, refrain from chewing or biting down on hard objects (this certainly includes ice)!

When it comes to your smile, practice only good habits

If you happen to practice any of the dentally-harmful habits mentioned above, we hope that we’ve been able to provide you with enough motivation to quit them as soon as you can!

Help is always available - speak with your doctor or dentist if you need some extra support or advice on how to kick your risky routines to the curb.



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