Compulsive behaviors aren’t always negative, but some habits can adversely affect the health and appearance of your teeth. Habits are behavioral patterns that manifest in different ways, and many people develop these habits to cope with stress, anxiety, or boredom. Perhaps the most common involve the teeth in some way or another, from nail-biting to teeth grinding. Many times, these habits wreak havoc on our teeth and gums, causing dental health issues that could have otherwise been avoided.
One of the most common habits is nail-biting. Though teeth are stronger than nails, teeth can chip or erode from the constant friction over time. Nail-biting can wear down the enamel and even cause jaw and teeth misalignment. Additionally, our hands are covered with countless germs, and when you chew your nails, those germs migrate to your mouth. As a result, gingivitis or gum disease can develop and cause oral bone deterioration. Chronic teeth grinding (bruxism) is also associated with nail-biting, leading to headaches, jaw soreness, and facial soreness.
Brushing Too Hard
Brushing your teeth is essential for maintaining good dental health, but sometimes people brush their teeth too hard. It may seem like the harder you brush, the better, but that couldn’t be more incorrect. Brushing your teeth too hard can lead to significant damage such as enamel erosion, gum recession, and tooth sensitivity.
Clenching or Grinding Your Teeth
Often related to stress and anxiety, jaw clenching and teeth grinding (bruxism) can cause multiple oral health dilemmas. People with bruxism often experience migraines, facial pain, and tooth decay. The constant pressure and friction between teeth can cause tooth pain, decay, and tooth and enamel loss. Bruxism is tricky because people don’t often realize when they’re doing it because it typically occurs during sleep or under stress. However, our Birmingham, AL dentist can help you find the best solution for treating bruxism and protecting your teeth in a caring and comfortable family environment.
Using Your Teeth as a Tool
Contrary to popular belief, you should not use your teeth as a multi-tool to open packages or untwist bottle caps. Our teeth require the utmost care and should only be used for chewing food. Using teeth as tools can cause serious long-term damage to your teeth and gums. When you use your teeth as a tool, they can crack, chip, or break. Try to keep the needed gadgets handy for easy use to avoid using your teeth as a bottle opener or pair of scissors.
Chewing on Ice Cubes
We have likely all been guilty of this bad habit at one time or another. Who doesn’t love a refreshing slushy or sweet snow cone during summertime? Chewing on ice may seem harmless and even natural, but it puts your teeth at a higher risk for chipping or breaking. Our teeth are not built to withstand the wear and tear of eating ice. Though tooth enamel acts as a protective shield for the tooth’s interior, it’s not immune to damage. Chewing on ice cubes can cause tooth enamel to deteriorate, making the teeth more sensitive and prone to cavities.
How We Can Help
Routine home and professional dental care are ways to begin healthier dental habits that will last a lifetime. Dr. Aaron Cook can provide you with affordable and effective cosmetic dentistry solutions to renew and protect your beautiful smile. To schedule an appointment with Cook Family Dental, please call us at (205) 326-6384.