Your teeth are tools – but only for biting and chewing food. Using your teeth for anything but eating puts you at a higher risk for serious dental damage. Most bad habits take only a little awareness to correct. Other habits have been forming over a long time and breaking them will require dedication and possibly an intervention from your Johns Creek general dentist.
1. Biting your nails
Nail biting is a nervous habit that not only wreaks havoc on your fingernails but can chip your teeth. Your jaw is also at risk of being hurt because, if held in a protruding position for too long, the resulting pressure can lead to jaw dysfunction and problems with your TMJ or other jaw pain.
A habit that often begins in childhood, some patients simply can’t shake the nail-biting, especially in times of stress. If a bitter nail polish doesn’t do the trick to turn you off your nails, stress reduction is often recommended. Holding a fidget toy to keep your fingers busy is also a good distribution of energy rather than doing damage to your nails and teeth.
Should you chip your teeth because of nail-biting, cosmetic tooth bonding or porcelain veneers are some of the most common cosmetic dentistry solutions.
2. Brushing too hard
A consistent toothbrushing habit is excellent – brushing too hard, however, is not good. You could damage your teeth and irritate your gums with heavy-handed brushing, which could lead to gum recession and worn out enamel. The former puts you at greater risk for gum disease, while the latter can require tooth-colored fillings or crowns to protect damaged teeth. not mean brushing hard.
3. Holding things with your teeth
Your hands are full. You have one more light grocery bag to carry into the house. You can just use your teeth to hold it, right? No. Definitely not. Your teeth exert a tremendous amount of force to cut and mash food, but they are not built for carrying or holding heavy things. Your jaw could suffer damage too if it is forced in the wrong direction.
Even putting something small in your mouth to hold onto for safekeeping for a moment or two can end in disaster. Take, for instance, nails. If you’re hammering a nail into a wall, you may hold a few nails between your teeth. Not only can this potentially scratch your enamel or gums or crack a tooth, you could accidentally swallow the nails.
Depending on the damage that’s done, you could need a dental crown, veneer, or other restorative solution to fix what’s broken.
4. Clenching your teeth
This may be an unconscious habit, but it is bad nevertheless. Clenching and grinding your teeth is not only painful, it can lead to a host of oral health issues, including problems with your TMJ. If you grind your teeth while sleeping, this can lead to worn, cracked, or damaged enamel, as well as gum recession. These problems can make you more susceptible to bacteria and food particles, which ups your risk of developing decay.
5. Chewing ice cubes
Ice cubes – they may “just” be water, but they are a very different form of water. One of the primary minerals in tooth enamel is a crystalline calcium phosphate. In short, crystal enamel. Ice is a crystal too, and pitting teeth and ice cubes against each other will cause one to break. Usually, the ice is the thing to crack, but it’s possible for a tooth or filling to break too.
See Your Johns Creek General Dentist
If you brush and floss and see your Johns Creek general dentist regularly, you’re on the road to good oral health. If you are dealing with bad oral habits that are causing dental issues, contact Family & Cosmetic Dental Care to schedule your appointment and get advice about how to stop your bad habit in its tracks.