Bad Habits That Can Hurt Your Teeth

There is still time to make a New Year’s resolution that can benefit not only you, but your teeth as well.

Here are 6 bad habits that you should kick this year:

1. Nail Biting – This nervous habit can chip teeth and impact your jaw. By placing your jaw in a protruding position for long periods of time can place unwanted pressure on it, which can be associated with a jaw dysfunction.

How to kick the habit: Bitter-tasting nail polishes, stress reduction and setting small, realistic goals can help. If certain situations are triggers, hold something to keep your fingers busy.

2. Brushing Too Hard – Brushing for two minutes twice a day is one of the best habits you can get into. Just make sure you’re not trying too hard. The type of toothbrush bristles can damage your teeth and irritate your gums if you are brushing too hard.

How to kick the habit: Use a soft toothbrush at the proper pressure. You want to give your teeth a massage, not a scrub. For recommendations, ask us at your next visit.

3. Grinding and Clenching – This can cause chipping or cracking of the teeth, as well as muscle tenderness or jaw joint pain. You might also feel like you can’t open your mouth wide or chew with pain.

How to kick the habit: Focus on relaxation exercises and staying aware makes a difference. A nighttime mouthguard can also help alleviate pain.

4. Chewing Ice Cubes – Tooth enamel is a crystal. Ice is a crystal. When you push two crystals against each other, one will break. Most of the time it’s the ice, but sometimes the tooth or a filling will break.

How to kick the habit: Drink beverages cold without ice, or use a straw so you’re not tempted.

5. Constant Snacking – Snacking all day, especially on sugary foods and drinks, puts you at a higher risk for cavities. When you eat, cavity-causing bacteria feast on leftover food, producing an acid that attacks the outer shell of your teeth.

How to kick the habit: Eat balanced meals to feel fuller, longer. If you need a snack, make sure it’s low in fat and sugar, like apples or carrots. If you indulge in the occasional sugary treat, follow it with a big glass of water to wash away leftover food. Brushing or using mouthwash after every meal can help kill unwanted bacteria.

6. Using Your Teeth As Tools

Your teeth were made for eating, not to stand in as a pair of scissors or hold things when your hands are full. When you do this, you put yourself at a higher risk of cracking your teeth, causing jaw pain or accidentally swallowing something you shouldn’t.

How to kick the habit: Stop what you’re and find something or someone to give you a hand! Your mouth will thank you later.

Kicking bad habits are not easy, but can be manageable.

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