Good oral health is essential to our overall well-being. In fact, poor oral health has been linked to diabetes, heart disease, and other complications. Here are a few habits that can harm your oral health and smile.
Nail biting is a common bad habit that many children develop before the age of ten. It not only causes teeth to chip or crack but also leads to jaw problems as the jaw muscles become overworked by constant movement. While nail biting is most common in children, adults can also develop the habit as a way of coping with stress or as a way of controlling nervousness.
Whatever the reason may be for the behavior, it is important to address it, as it can lead to serious oral health issues down the road. These can include wear and tear on your teeth and the loosening of your braces. Other side effects can include pain in your temporomandibular joint (TMJ), headaches, and even tooth loss.
Chewing ice cubes
Chewing ice may seem like a harmless habit, but it can chip teeth, damage your dental fillings, or make your teeth more sensitive over time. Additionally, biting down on hard foods can wear down the enamel that protects your teeth. If one of your teeth is already sensitive or worn down, ice can make the problem worse. If you’re an ice chewer, it’s best to break the habit to protect your smile.
While eating between meals may seem harmless, it is one of the worst habits for your smile. Every time you eat food, especially sugary foods or snacks, your mouth becomes acidic, and your teeth become vulnerable. The acid softens enamel, making it easier to chip or crack a tooth. Over time, frequent snacking can cause tooth decay or damage the tooth enamel. It can also contribute to gum disease that damages the soft tissues of the mouth. Many people tend to eat food and drinks in their mouth while they’re working, which can be damaging to the teeth if done constantly throughout the day. It’s best if you can limit snacking throughout the day and eat your meals at normal intervals. And when you do snack, rinse your mouth and try chewing sugarless gum afterward to help neutralize the acids in your mouth.
Thumb-sucking is a habit that begins in childhood and can continue into adulthood. The extended use of the thumb can cause the teeth to move out of alignment or impact the growth of the jaw. This can result in difficulty chewing, speaking, biting, and swallowing.
Sometimes patients may find it difficult to stop this habit on their own. There are special devices and appliances that can be used to help break the habit. Talk to your best dentist in Louisville, KY, about whether one of these options may be right for you. There are also behavioral techniques that may be used as well.
Bruxism is a disorder that affects millions of Americans each year. People who grind their teeth on a regular basis are putting themselves at risk for tooth damage as well as TMD disorders like TMJ, which can cause pain in the jaw muscles and headaches. While the causes of bruxism are not entirely understood, researchers believe that stress often plays a role. The side effects of teeth grinding can be minimized with the help of your dentist. Your best dentist in Louisville, KY, may recommend wearing a night guard or splint to protect your teeth and jaw from damage at night while you sleep. Over time, the damage caused by bruxism can compromise your oral health and appearance. Left untreated, it can lead to broken, worn, and damaged teeth that may require restorative treatments like dental crowns or porcelain veneers for repair.
Brushing too hard
Many people brush their teeth too aggressively and this can cause damage to the enamel. The gums can recede due to consistent grinding of the teeth, leading to sensitivity. Gum recession can also cause the roots to become exposed. This can make your teeth look longer or make you look older than you are. It can also make your teeth more prone to decay as the root surface is not protected by enamel. If you must grind your teeth at night, talk with your dentist in Louisville, KY, about possible solutions such as night guards. Otherwise, be mindful of your brushing technique!
When you brush your teeth, use gentle pressure instead of firm strokes. Use a toothbrush with a soft-bristled head and gentle circular motions. Even though you don’t want to do harsh brushing, it isn’t good to brush so lightly that you don’t remove plaque. Plaque harbors bacteria which can accelerate tooth decay and cause gum disease. So be sure to use the correct brushing technique and visit the dentist in Louisville, KY, for regular cleanings and checkups to ensure a healthy smile!
To find out more about the dental services offered at our dental practice, call (502) 893-5454 or schedule an online consultation. You can also visit us at 4213 N Church Way, Louisville, KY, 40207, US.