The enamel that coats your teeth is the hardest substance in the human body. It forms a durable outer layer that protects vulnerable structures, but that does not make it invincible. Over time, enamel can wear down, and bad oral habits can significantly speed up this process.
Sometimes, we consciously or unconsciously pick up harmful oral habits. From the foods we eat to how we respond to stress, let’s go through ten habits that ruin our teeth.
Poor Dental Habits
Since childhood, we’ve been taught that we should brush our teeth at least twice a day. Brushing is an effective way to prevent plaque from forming. Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that builds on the teeth.
However, just like not brushing, over brushing can also be harmful. Excessive brushing can wear down enamel and expose the sensitive inner layers of the teeth. When brushing, make sure to apply just enough pressure to feel the bristles against your gums.
Brushing alone is not enough to remove deep-seated bacteria in between your teeth and under the gum line. Make it a point to floss every day to remove stubborn food remnants. If you find flossing hard-to-reach areas difficult, try a pre-threaded flosser or a tiny brush to clean those spots.
Most dental issues are treatable if you go to the dentist at least once a year. Your dentist can perform regular cleanings to remove plaque and detect potential problems at an early stage. They can also give practical advice to help you take care of your teeth, like recommending oral care products based on your specific needs.
Poor Treatment of Teeth
Bruxism is a condition characterized by teeth grinding or clenching. Some people tend to grind their teeth in response to stress. Others with sleep bruxism may not be aware of their condition until there are noticeable signs of damage. If left untreated, severe bruxism can affect tooth structure, cause headaches, and result in jaw disorders.
To help with sleep bruxism, your dentist may recommend wearing a nightguard. A nightguard is a device that prevents the upper and lower teeth from coming into contact while you sleep.
When some people are in a hurry, they tend to use their teeth to open packages or hold items when their hands are too full. When you use your mouth as a tool, there’s a chance you can damage the teeth or jaw. Instead of using your teeth to open packages, stop and look for a proper item that can help you complete the task.
Like teeth grinding, some individuals tend to bite their nails when they feel nervous or stressed. Sometimes, they may not even be aware of the habit until they’ve chipped away at their nails or damaged their teeth.
Keep your nails short and consider applying bitter-tasting nail polish to discourage the habit. More importantly, try to identify your triggers and implement healthier stress management strategies.
If you play contact sports like hockey, football, and boxing, it’s best to wear a mouth guard to every game. Whether store-bought or customized, mouth guards protect your teeth and gums from sports injuries. Doctors may recommend mouth guards even for non-contact sports like ice skating or gymnastics, where there’s a high risk of falling.
Poor Diet and Use of Vices
Since sugar promotes tooth decay, make it a point to eat sweet foods in moderation. Instead of sugar-rich cakes, cookies, and ice cream, choose fresh fruits for dessert. Go for nutrient-rich snacks like low-fat cheese, whole-grain crackers, and low-calorie yogurt.
Coffee, tea, soft drinks, and wines are beverages that contribute to teeth discoloration. If you can’t avoid these drinks, try to use a straw while drinking. Make sure to drink water immediately after to rinse residue.
A smoker faces twice the risk of developing gum disease compared to a non-smoker. Gum disease affects the bone holding your teeth in place. Over time, the gums pull away from the teeth, causing the tooth to become loose and, in extreme cases, fall out.
Quitting smoking is one of the best choices you can make, not just for your teeth but also for your overall health and those around you.
Top-Rated Dentist In Eugene, Oregon
For comprehensive dental care, visit 360 Dental. Dr. Ari Binder has years of experience in a wide range of general, restorative, and cosmetic dental procedures. He can conduct a thorough assessment and perform the necessary treatments to keep your teeth in top shape.