Did you remember to brush your teeth when you went to bed after ringing in the New Year at midnight? Your team at Falmouth Dental Arts hopes you did, and we wish our family of patients a year filled with healthy mouths. Are you still looking for a 2020 resolution, but feel like adding a whole new good habit is a little too ambitious? Why not try quitting a bad habit instead?
We’ve compiled a list of 5 Bad Habits that hurt your teeth. Quit one–kick them all!–and look forward to your best dental year yet!
1. Biting your nails: We’ve all done it once or twice, but when biting your nails becomes a habit, it has bad side effects for your nails and your entire mouth. Biting your nails can chip your teeth and ultimately impact your jaw. Continually protruding your jaw and biting with pressure gradually changes the natural alignment of your bite, resulting in jaw dysfunction.
Kick It! Try painting a bitter-tasting polish (available in clear varieties as well, for those who would prefer a more subtle tone) on your nails.
2. Brushing too hard/Overbrushing: We all know that brushing your teeth for two minutes, twice a day, is a terrific tooth habit! However, brushing with a stiff-bristled brush, applying a lot of force, or brushing for longer than two minutes can all hurt your teeth and gums. Overbrushing in any form can damage your tooth enamel and erode your gums.
Kick It! Look for a soft-bristled brush with the ADA Seal of Approval, and be sure to use a gentle hand when brushing. Don’t think of “scrubbing” your teeth–think of “massaging” them. So much nicer!
3. Grinding your teeth/Clenching your jaw: Life can be stressful. Sometimes that stress makes us slouch at our desk or hunch our shoulders, but sometimes stress seeps into our dental posture as well. Grinding your teeth and clenching your jaw can cause cracking or chipping of your teeth, not to mention muscle and joint pain from sustained pressure.
Kick it! Try some relaxation techniques throughout the day, especially before bed. Grinding your teeth when you’re sleeping is the most difficult to address because you’re unconscious! If you are particularly prone to grinding your teeth in your sleep, you may need to invest in a mouth guard to wear while you sleep.
4. Using your teeth as tools: Just like biting your nails, we’ve all attempted to use our teeth as scissors or an extra hand. However, your teeth are made for eating and for smiling–not for opening bottles or removing tags. When you use your teeth as tools, you run the risk of cracking or chipping your teeth, puncturing your gums, or even choking.
Kick it! Go get a pair of scissors, find your bottle opener, and make two trips! It may seem like more work at first, but your teeth will be happier.
5. Chewing ice: This one may seem a little specific, but consider this: your tooth enamel is a type of crystal, as is ice. When you push two crystals against each other, one eventually breaks. In this particular scenario, it is typically the ice which cracks and crumbles–but that’s not a guarantee! Sometimes, teeth or dental appliances break first, leading to a costly visit to the dentist.
Kick it! Use a straw to sip icy beverages, or remove the ice before you start drinking.
Here at Falmouth Dental Arts, we are committed to providing top-notch tooth love for our patients in the office. However, we want to support you and your teeth at all times! If you have any questions about these bad habits, or want some more ideas on how to build good dental habits, please ask at your next appointment. To schedule your appointment, please call our office at 207.781.5900.