We all have bad habits and we all know they’re hard to break: we’re not going to belabor that point. What we are going to talk about are bad habits that are probably doing serious damage to your teeth. Some habits that may seem harmless can be seriously damaging, even leading to eventual tooth loss.
We spend a lot of time fixing teeth at our Edgewood office, and there’s one thing we’ve learned for sure: most dental problems are preventable! Whether it’s just getting better at brushing and flossing or it’s breaking a bad habit you can protect your teeth without having to try too hard!
#1: Bruxism: It’s Often Missed
Grinding, clenching, and gnashing your teeth is known as bruxism, and it’s a serious danger to your teeth. In many cases patients don’t even know they’re doing it – it’s a common nighttime habit. A lot of people grind their teeth while sleeping, going for years without realizing the damage they’re doing and constantly wondering why their jaw hurts in the morning!
Plenty of us do it consciously too: stress, facial tics, and fatigue can all be a source of bruxing. If you’re a conscious bruxer it’s important to take notice when you’re doing it – prolonged bruxism can lead to loosening, premature wear, and even total tooth loss.
#2: Chewing Hard Stuff
Hard candy, ice, pencils, pens – if it isn’t meant to be chewed you shouldn’t be chewing on it! The enamel on your teeth is tough, but it’s not tough enough to handle continual stress from chewing hard objects. Over time it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll do damage to your teeth with this bad habit.
Microfractures, chips, and other breakage can happen can all be a result of chewing, and guess what’s even worse? The damage can be cumulative! You may not notice damage now, but if you keep the habit up you’ll see it eventually!
#3: Opening Things With Your Teeth
“Where are those darn scissors?” We’ve all probably mumbled that – along with a few other choice words – under our breath from time to time. Not being able to locate a tool doesn’t mean your teeth will suffice, however.
The risks you face from opening packages with your teeth is similar to what you face chewing on inappropriate objects. The big difference here is the amount of force you use: it’s much greater. Trying to open a package can result in slamming your teeth together, which can easily result in cracks and chips.
#4: Sports Without A Mouthguard
Protecting yourself while playing sports is obvious – that’s why so much money gets spent on protective gear. Not as much is spent on protecting teeth, however!
Most people know all about the boil-and-bite mouthguards that you can buy at every sporting goods store. Those guards simply don’t protect as well as they should! They’re uncomfortable, they’ll never quite fit right, and they fall out really easily.
The best possible protection for your mouth is a custom mouthguard. It will fit better, it will protect better, and it will feel better. Over 600,000 emergency room visits happen every year due to mouth injuries from sports – don’t let you or your child be part of that number!
#5: Brushing After Meals
This one surprises a lot of people – how can brushing after eating be bad? The secret lies in how your mouth deals with food.
Oral bacteria metabolizes sugars (both the sweet and the starchy kind) into acids that soften and erode your tooth enamel. The attack lasts for about a half an hour after you eat, meaning that in those 30 minutes your teeth are soft and vulnerable.
If you brush your teeth within those 30 minutes, like a lot of us tend to do, you could easily scrape away enamel and do more damage. For best results simply wait a half an hour or rinse your mouth with water or mouthwash.
Breaking Habits Is The Easy Path To Health
It can seem incredibly daunting to break a habit, especially if it’s one you use for comfort, security, or stress relief. At Edgewood Dental Care we can help you get the equipment you need, stop bad habits, and correct the minor damage that may have already occurred. All it takes is a phone call!