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Published on September 12, 2023

4 Habits that Could Be Harming Your Dental Health

In pursuing a radiant and healthy smile, it’s easy to focus solely on routine dental check-ups and diligent brushing and flossing. People often tend to overlook the detrimental habits that might be quietly sabotaging their oral well-being. 

While the significance of regular dental visits and proper oral hygiene cannot be overstated, it’s equally essential to recognize the dangerous habits that can counteract your efforts. This article will help you avoid bad dental habits by shedding light on unsuspecting factors that may undermine your oral health. So, let’s get started!

Chewing Ice

Despite its seemingly harmless appeal, chewing ice can wreak havoc on your dental health. It can lead to the irreversible cracking and chipping of your precious teeth. This damage can span a spectrum of severity, ranging from minor cracks that might necessitate a composite filling to more extensive damage that could entail the placement of a crown, a root canal procedure, or, in the worst-case scenario, the loss of the affected tooth altogether.

The appeal of chewing ice often lies in the satisfying crunch it provides, but this very sensation can be extremely harmful. It can severely damage your tooth enamel.

For damaged teeth, it is advised to seek expert cosmetic dental services right away.

Alternatives to Chewing Ice

To kick this potentially harmful habit to the curb, consider these alternatives:

  • Sip Through a Straw: Opt for drinking with a straw to resist the temptation to chew on ice cubes. This simple switch can help protect your teeth from the perils of ice chewing.
  • Healthy Crunchy Snacks: Substitute ice with wholesome, crunchy foods like apples or carrot sticks. These options offer a satisfying crunch without the dental risks.
  • Sugar-Free Gum: Chewing sugar-free gum can provide a safe outlet for your oral fixation on chewing, minus the harmful consequences that ice can inflict.

Brushing Vigorously

Maintaining good oral hygiene is essential for a healthy mouth, and brushing your teeth is at the forefront of this regimen. However, like with many things in life, moderation is vital. Brushing too aggressively could damage your teeth and gums.

Brushing vigorously risks wearing away the protective enamel layer that protects your teeth. This can cause increased sensitivity and discomfort, making the encounter unpleasant. Furthermore, the constant pressure of forceful brushing might push your gums back, causing them to recede from your teeth. This exposes the sensitive tooth roots, increasing sensitivity and the risk of infection.

It is critical to recognize that once the enamel has been lost or the gums have receded, there is no natural way to recover them. However, there are preventive actions available to limit additional damage. 

Reducing Harm Caused by Excessive Brushing

Dentists frequently propose the following strategies to reduce the harm caused by excessive brushing:

  • Consider Using an Electric Toothbrush: Consider utilizing an electric toothbrush with a pressure sensor. If you apply too much effort, these devices will produce a warning beep as a friendly reminder to ease off on the pressure.
  • Select a Toothbrush with Soft Bristles: Soft bristles are gentler on your teeth and gums and help eliminate plaque and particles.

Teeth Grinding

Teeth grinding or bruxism is a surprisingly prevalent issue that often eludes our conscious awareness since it primarily happens during unconsciousness or sleep. Despite its concealed nature, the consequences of bruxism can be anything but subtle, as it can progressively wear down your teeth, elevate your susceptibility to cavities, and even pave the way for fractures.

Signs of Bruxism

Recognizing the signs of nocturnal teeth grinding is crucial for addressing the problem:

  • Morning Misery: Waking up with a sore jaw or experiencing the nagging throb of a dull headache can be telltale signs that you’ve been grinding your teeth as you slumber.
  • Daytime Clues: Pay heed to moments when you catch yourself clenching your jaw during the day, particularly in stressful situations. This daytime clenching can often mirror the nighttime grinding.
  • Inside Cheek Evidence: A less obvious but significant clue can be found by inspecting the inside of your cheeks. The presence of damage or bite marks could suggest that, unbeknownst to you, you’ve been biting down during your sleep.

Consider investing in a night guard to mitigate the detrimental effects of teeth grinding. These custom-fitted oral devices act as a protective barrier between your teeth, preventing them from grinding against each other during the night. A consultation with your dentist can help you get a night guard tailored to your needs.

It’s worth noting that teeth grinding is closely linked to stress and can be exacerbated by intense weightlifting, which often induces jaw clenching. 

Dealing With Bruxism

To combat this issue:

  • Incorporate relaxation techniques, such as meditation or a soothing warm bath, into your bedtime routine. 
  • Applying a warm compress to your face before sleep can help relax the jaw muscles.
  • Self-massage of the jaw can further alleviate tension.

Smoking

Dentists insistently highlight the grave consequences that smoking can inflict on your teeth and gums, making it a habit that is best abandoned.

Smoking impacts oral health by increasing the likelihood of bacterial plaque buildup, a notorious cause of gum disease. Moreover, smoking hampers blood flow to the gums, which not only impedes the mouth’s natural healing processes but also exacerbates the risk of gum disease.

A comprehensive 2019 review of studies examining the link between tobacco use and oral cancer established a disturbing association. Tobacco usage was strongly correlated with the development of oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC), which accounts for over 90% of oral cancer cases.

Beyond the threat of severe diseases, smoking also ushers in less dire yet unwelcome consequences. It can lead to chronic bad breath, a persistent issue that can impact your social interactions. It is also notorious for staining teeth, which impacts the radiance of your smile.

Quitting Smoking

  • It’s advisable to consult your doctor for guidance on quitting. 
  • Several treatment options are available, including medications and nicotine patches. 
  • There are many resources and support groups that can provide invaluable assistance during the process.

Bottom Line

In the pursuit of a radiant smile and healthy oral hygiene, it’s crucial to recognize and avoid some harmful habits. Chewing ice, though satisfyingly crunchy, can lead to teeth chipping and cracking. Overzealous brushing can erode enamel, increasing sensitivity and gum recession risk. Night teeth grinding can wear down teeth, increase cavity risk, and cause fractures. Moreover, smoking jeopardizes overall health and leads to bacterial plaque buildup and gum disease.

Preserve your oral health by steering clear of these harmful habits, ensuring a dazzling and healthy smile for years to come! 


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