Nail Biting and Other Bad Habits That Harm Your Teeth and Gums
Bad habits can be difficult to break or even notice sometimes. We learn many habits when we are kids that we may not notice that we do or we’ve tried to break. This includes habits that affect your dental health.
So, you may wonder what habits harm your teeth and gums. Well, there are many habits that you may not notice you do that could be irritating your dental health. Here’s a guide on how nail biting and other bad habits can affect your dental health.
You may have taken up several bad habits over time by accident or by choice. And while the habit may relieve some immediate satisfaction, you’re risking your dental health by continuing the habit. So, you should make changes to help avoid potential dental problems that could worsen with time if you have not seen your dentist to get the proper treatments.
The following are some bad habits that can affect your dental health and possible ways to help change your habits.
1. Biting Nails
You likely already know that nail biting can be bad for your nails. Many people bite their nails if they are feeling nervous, bored, or even hungry. This nervous action can chip your teeth and damage your jaw. It can harm your jaw to be placed in a position with much pressure on it.
Some ways to prevent biting your nails include having bitter-tasting nail polishes, reducing stress, keeping fidget toys on hand, and setting small, realistic goals that can help. If a situation triggers nail biting, keep your hands busy so you’re not tempted to bite your nails.
2. Brushing Too Hard
Good brushing is advised for achieving the best results in cleaning your teeth and preventing dental health problems. It’s recommended to brush twice a day for two minutes, but not to brush them too hard. Doing so can damage teeth and irritate your gums.
Some ways to avoid this are getting a soft toothbrush and thinking about massaging your teeth rather than scrubbing them. The goal is to clean your teeth without applying so much pressure that you damage or chip the enamel.
Additionally, rough teeth brushing can result in receding gums. This is when your gum tissue pulls up away from the teeth, exposing the roots of your teeth. Gum recession can make your teeth appear longer, cause sensitivity to cold or hot beverages, make your gums red and swollen, and lead to tooth loss.
3. Grinding Teeth or Clenching Jaw
Another common bad habit many people have is teeth grinding or jaw clenching. This can be difficult to notice as a habit, as some people have stress-induced teeth grinding and may not realize they’re doing the action. Then some people may only grind their teeth at night when they sleep and may not be aware of it.
Continual teeth grinding and jaw clenching can be painful and bad for your teeth. So, try relaxing exercises and staying aware when you’re doing the action. Getting a nighttime mouthguard can help people who grind their teeth at night to prevent tooth damage and avoid pain and muscle soreness.
4. Chewing on Ice Cubes
Many people occasionally chew on ice, and some people have a more complicated issue called pagophagia, which is intense, consistent cravings to chew ice. This condition can be caused by a nutritional disorder, so it’s worth getting checked by a doctor if you can’t seem to kick your ice chewing habit.
The crunching can be nice, but your tooth enamel is sensitive to this amount of rigid pressure. Although the ice is the thing that breaks most times, there is a chance that your tooth will be the one to break, resulting in needing a filling and toothaches.
Some ways to avoid chewing on ice include using a straw, so you’re not getting ice into your mouth. Although the feeling may be nice, it may not be worth it for the potential risks it poses to your dental health.
One thing that can ruin your teeth is persistent snacking on sugary foods and drinks, increasing the risk of cavities. When you eat food with high-sugar content, more cavity-causing bacteria will attach to the leftover food in your mouth, producing an acid that will attack the outer shell of your teeth.
Something to do instead of snacking on sugary foods that put your teeth at risk of cavities includes eating balanced meals to feel fuller for longer or choosing snacks that are low in fat and sugar. Having the occasional sugary treat is okay, but you should follow it with a big glass of water to wash away any leftover food.
6. Using Your Teeth as Tools
Don’t feel like digging through your drawers for a pair of scissors? Many of us use our teeth for tags or other materials when we don’t have the proper tools available. Your teeth are made for eating, not for breaking materials that are bad for your teeth. Doing this puts yourself at a higher risk of cracking your teeth, injuring your jaw, or accidentally swallowing something you shouldn’t.
If this is your natural habit, you should find something else that can cut what you’re trying to or find someone else with the proper tools. If you need to, you can even keep a pair of nail clippers or small scissors in your bag for easy access. This simple solution can help you avoid potential dental issues that would be costly and potentially painful.
What Should You Do if You’re Concerned About Your Habits?
Some habits can be difficult to identify as you might not consciously do them. However, recognizing that it’s a problem can allow you to get help for them. If you’re unsure if something is bad for your dental health, you should speak with your dentist to ensure that it’s not causing any issues.
If you have noticed pain or irritation in your teeth, gum, or jaw, you should bring this up with your dentist. Some bad habits, such as teeth grinding, can often result in pain and muscle soreness. Speaking with your dentist can allow you to seek help and get treatments that will help you avoid the problems altogether.
Choosing South Anchorage Dental Center
At South Anchorage Dental Center (SADC), we’re here to help you get the dental care you need with services you can afford. Our Dental Savings Program can be a great way to get the dental care you need while saving money.
If you need dental services or are looking for a dentist to help you without judgment, SADC is the place for you. We will provide comprehensive services that can help you break your bad habits. You can also see us for your regular dental checkups to ensure that your dental health is in top condition.
We also offer emergency dental services that allow you to receive care even when you don’t have an appointment. If you’ve got a dental emergency, you can call our office so we can restore your beautiful smile as soon as possible.
Whether you’re anxious to receive dental care or looking to find a dentist available for your family whenever you need them, South Anchorage Dental Center is here for you.