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6 Habits That Can Damage Oral Health

added on: May 26, 2023

Brushing and flossing your teeth every day and seeing your dentist in Austin twice a year are three things you should do in order to protect your teeth and your oral health. But did you know that there are everyday habits that can damage oral health no matter how hard you work on preventive dental care? Here are some of the most common habits that can damage oral health. 

1. Biting Your Nails

Whether you bite your nails occasionally or are part of the 20-30% of Americans who bite their nails habitually, the risk of tooth damage is still there. Even though tooth enamel is tough, chipping away at your nails can cause it to wear down. This increases the risk of breaking or chipping a tooth, which will require a visit to your dentist in Austin. What’s more is that biting your nails can allow teeth to shift, causing overcrowding or changing your bite. 

2. Using Teeth as Tools

Using teeth to open up a package or tear off a tag can cause similar damage as nail biting. A quick rip to the bag can equate to an unexpected cracked tooth, broken restoration, or trauma to the soft tissues in the mouth. When in doubt, avoid your teeth and find scissors or a knife to help instead. 

3. Chewing Ice

Many people enjoy chewing on the cold crunchiness of ice while sipping on their favorite drink. But this habit can not only chip or break teeth, which can be painful, it can also cause teeny tiny cracks over time. These small cracks can become big cracks, and they also provide a great space for bacteria to settle in, leading to decay. 

4. Clenching or Grinding Teeth 

Clenching or grinding our teeth is common, especially when we’re stressed out. Additionally, some medications such as SSRI antidepressants can also cause people to clench and grind. However, repeatedly clenching or grinding could lead to headaches, sore jaw or facial muscles, damaged teeth, as well as bone loss. 

5. Smoking

Smoking cigarettes or cigars or using chewing tobacco can not only affect your overall health, but it can also damage your oral health. Tobacco use can cause tooth discoloration, decay, gum disease, and even tooth loss. And that’s not all. Using tobacco products can increase the risk of cancer in the mouth, lips, or tongue. 

6. Brushing Too Hard

You know that you should brush your teeth twice a day. But did you know that you don’t need to scrub? In fact, brushing too hard can weaken your teeth, putting them at risk for decay, damage, and sensitivity. Brushing too hard or using a toothbrush with anything other than soft bristles could also damage gums and cause recession.

If you have any of these habits, try to become more aware of when you do them and work to stop. Breaking any habit can be hard, but stick with it. You can also talk to your dentist in Austin about your habits so they can offer tips as well as keep an eye out for any concerns or damage.