Most people have a few bad habits and, mostly, they don’t have a huge impact on your life. But if some of your bad habits relate to your oral health, you’re in danger of damaging or even losing your teeth.
More than 90% of American adults have suffered at least one cavity, and millions are missing some or all of their teeth. Forming good habits, and breaking bad ones, could’ve saved most of those teeth.
At Madison Family Dental Group in Fair Oaks, California, Shiva Salehi, DDS, and her team provide a wide range of general and cosmetic dentistry services to maintain, improve, or optimize your oral health. We believe the more you know about your teeth, and the healthy habits needed to keep them strong, the happier you’ll be with your smile.
We’ve curated this informative guide to help you identify bad habits that could ruin your teeth. Read on to learn more.
1. Skimping on brushing, flossing, and rinsing
When your time’s stretched thin with work and family obligations, it’s easy to let basic dental care slide. But one of the most detrimental habits for dental health is skipping routine brushing, flossing, and rinsing.
Even if you brush your teeth regularly, you only reach about half of the surface area of your teeth. Flossing reaches the areas that brushing alone can’t, and helps to eliminate cavity-causing plaque between teeth. To keep your teeth and gums healthy, brush twice a day, rinse as soon as possible after all meals and snacks, and floss at least once a day.
2. Using too much force
Brushing and flossing are important, but you must use a soft touch. Don’t brush your teeth or floss vigorously or use a toothbrush with hard bristles. Over time, this rough treatment causes degradation in your enamel, making it easier for cavities to form. You can also irritate your gums, increasing your risk of bleeding and infection.
Choose a toothbrush with soft bristles, practice brushing in gentle, circular patterns, and floss well but carefully. Dr. Salehi or a member of our care team can review the basics of brushing and flossing with you if vigorous brushing or flossing has been an issue.
3. Biting objects
Nail-biting is a nervous habit that’s bad for your nails, your overall health, and your teeth. Not only do you ingest harmful bacteria when you bite your nails, but this habit can also cause your teeth to move or shift out of place, break or damage your dental enamel, and increase your risk of infection.
Your nails aren’t the only thing you should stop biting. Hard substances, like ice or plastics, can cause breaks or chips in your teeth. Breaks and chips make your teeth more sensitive to extreme temperatures, like a hot cup of tea or a scoop of ice cream.
Avoid chewing on any non-food items, never use your teeth to open packages or bottles, and use your back molars when biting down on hard foods. These adjustments help reduce your risk of damaging your front teeth and promote better overall dental health.
4. Grinding or clenching your teeth
About one-third of Americans grind their teeth, especially at night, a condition called bruxism. Unless the person you share a room with complains about it, you may not realize you’re doing it. Unfortunately, this bad habit can ruin otherwise healthy teeth.
Grinding your teeth could give you chronic headaches, increase the risk of earaches, and make your face, neck, or jaw sore. It also can destroy your smile. Long-term effects include:
- Fractured teeth
- Loose or lost teeth
- Wearing down teeth to stumps
- Change in the appearance of your face
- TMJ disorder
A mouthguard is the easiest treatment for chronic tooth grinding. Dr. Salehi can custom-design a mouthguard for you that will fit more comfortably and be more effective than a store-bought alternative.
5. Avoiding the dentist
You should break all of the other bad habits on the list. But it’s also important to make and keep regular dental exams at least twice a year.
Professional dental cleanings and examinations help identify any oral health issues early, making it possible to start treatment before the problem grows. At Madison Family Dental Group, we make visiting the dentist pleasant and easy. Contact our office today by phone or use the online booking form.