Harmful Dental Habits to Avoid
Many people believe their teeth are indestructible and will use them to chew on hard substances such as candy, ice cubes, pens and pencils and even bite their fingernails or use their teeth like scissors or a bottle opener. These are the folks that will end up visiting the dentist many times to repair the damage done from these harmful habits.
In addition to these external habits, there are other things we may be doing subconsciously that are just as harmful. Anxiety, anger or frustration can lead to bruxism, which is the grinding or clenching of teeth. Quite often this habit will start during periods of sleep, and unless a partner hears the grinding, the patient might not even be aware.
Bruxism can result in headaches, tenderness in the jaw or neck, ear aches or tooth aches. Over time, a person that grinds their teeth can wear them down and even break a tooth.
Smoking and tobacco use is very destructive to not only teeth, but to gum tissue and the soft tissues in the mouth. It is a well-documented fact that people who use tobacco are more likely to develop gum disease or lose their teeth than non-smokers.
Consuming sugary beverages and snacks can be extremely hard on teeth. Plaque build-up is due to bacteria that form on teeth and at the gum line. The sugar in soda pop and many other beverages and sweet snacks will cling to bacteria already present on teeth making their consumption a leading cause of gum disease and dental decay.
Chewing gum is not always a harmful habit, but done consistently with sugar laden gum can create problems not only with plaque build-up, but in promoting dental decay.
Over-whitening can be troublesome as well. Just as a person may become addicted to tobacco or alcohol, there are people that start whitening their teeth and are so enamored with the result, they whiten too often. This can be extremely hard on dental enamel and whitening should be limited to once every six months.
It is important to get into the habit of daily brushing and flossing and twice yearly visits to the dentist for a professional cleaning and exam.
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