Good oral and dental hygiene is important to maintain a healthy smile. Habits like nail biting, smoking, brushing teeth aggressively, teeth grinding, using teeth as tools, not visiting a dentist regularly, etc., can result in damage to our oral health. Listed below are some common bad oral habits that can cause damage to our oral health.

  • Smoking

Cigarettes contain nicotine and tar, two substances that are highly damaging to our oral health. They can cause bad breath, stained teeth, receding gum lines, cavities, and even oral cancers. In combination with alcohol, tobacco is also extremely addictive and can take a toll on our overall health. Studies have shown that smokers have a higher risk of getting the periodontal disease than non-smokers, which can significantly damage the gums and lead to tooth loss over time.

Nicotine found in cigarettes and other tobacco products can slow down the body’s ability to heal wounds in the mouth. It can also cause reduced blood flow in the gums and surrounding tissues. These problems make healing from oral diseases difficult, and smokers are more likely than non-smokers to suffer from gum disease. And not only will their risk of gum disease increase, but so will the risk of prematurely losing their teeth.

A dry mouth increases the risk of tooth decay because the saliva helps wash away food particles, bacteria, and sugars from the mouth. Saliva also protects tooth enamel by neutralizing acids produced by plaque bacteria and washing away dead cells from the tongue as well as reducing bacterial adherence. Without its protective benefits, patients are at a greater risk for tooth decay. Additionally, the chemicals in cigarettes cause yellow and brown stains on your teeth, called smoker’s stains. Cigarette smoking is also known to cause several cancers, including cancer of the mouth, lip, and throat. So, avoid smoking at any cost.

  • Brushing Teeth Aggressively

Brushing your teeth too aggressively can lead to several oral problems. It can wear down the enamel of your teeth and weaken the tooth structure. It can also injure your gums and lead to gum disease. Gum disease is the most common cause of tooth loss in adults. So, it is important to brush your teeth gently and properly every day. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and gently brush all surfaces of each tooth for at least two minutes each session. Don’t forget to floss at least once a day as well.

In addition to reducing the chances of developing oral health problems, brushing your teeth twice a day can keep your teeth and gums healthy and clean. This can help protect you from cavities and prevent bad breath.

  • Nail Biting

Nail biting is one of the most common bad oral health habits out there. Many of us go through phases where we can’t control our urge to bite our nails. However, this habit may damage not only your nails but also your teeth. That’s because when you bite your nails, the sharp edges of your nails can rub against the softer surface of your teeth and cause tiny cracks that increase the risk of tooth decay and gum disease. In addition, when you chew on hard objects like fingernails, you can end up damaging your enamel or wearing away the outer layer of your teeth. Keep in mind that if you wear down your teeth by chewing on them excessively, you may end up needing restorative dentistry treatments such as dental crowns, dental bridges, or dental implants to replace damaged tooth structures. You may also need fillings if your tooth is cracked. Chewing on fingernails may also increase your risk of chipping or breaking your teeth. Not to mention, you may accidentally swallow pieces of fingernails or end up with cuts in your mouth from excessive nail biting.

If you do have the urge to bite your nails, try distracting yourself and keeping your hands busy. You can also talk to your dentist about other effective strategies to help you stop biting your nails.

  • Teeth Grinding

Teeth grinding is a serious problem that can lead to tooth fractures, headaches, jaw pain, and much more. These symptoms can disrupt your quality of life and prevent you from sleeping well at night. Your dentist may recommend a custom night guard to protect your teeth while you sleep.

Most cases of bruxism are due to stress. If your habit is related to stress and you feel that you have no control over it, there are steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of further damage to your teeth and jaw. Meditation, exercise, and medication can all be used to help control stress and anxiety levels. For more severe cases of bruxism, your dentist may be able to prescribe muscle relaxants to manage your symptoms.

Most importantly, you should visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and checkups. During these visits, the dentist will look for signs of bruxism and take steps to correct them. If the problem is caught in its earliest stages, it’s possible that a night guard or other treatment will not be necessary.

  • Not Visiting The Dentist Regularly

Sometimes, people avoid going to the dentist because of anxiety or fear. However, regular visits to the dentist can help prevent serious oral health issues from developing that may require extensive treatment in the future. For example, when cavities and gum disease are caught early, your dentist can treat the affected tooth and avoid long-term complications. Additionally, dentists can also detect signs of oral cancer during a routine examination. Because oral cancer is typically asymptomatic in its early stages, getting screened by a dentist may save your life.

If you’ve avoided seeing the dentist because of anxiety, talk to your dentist about sedation dentistry. Sedation dentistry involves the use of medication that helps you relax during treatment. Some forms of sedation dentistry include oral conscious sedation, nitrous oxide (laughing gas), and intravenous (IV) sedation. Talk to your dentist about which form of sedation is right for you.

Briarwood Family Dentistry, located in Aurora, CO, offers the best and most gentle dental care services to patients. Dial (303) 680-6000 and book an appointment with us to learn more about our dental services.

Visit Us

Our goal is for you to leave our office with a memorable and enjoyable experience, which is why our welcoming and compassionate staff will do everything they can to make you feel right at home.

Call Us Text Us
Skip to content