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6 Common Dental Habits That Can Damage Your Smile

Posted by Daryn Nishikawa Nov 30, 2022

Oral health is crucial for the overall health of an individual. One should practice good oral hygiene habits to maintain good oral health. In order to maintain good oral health, one must avoid certain bad oral habits. Listed below are a few common bad oral habits that can affect our oral health.

  • Nail Biting

Some people bite or nibble their fingernails when nervous or anxious. This bad habit can do serious damage to your teeth and gums if done frequently over time. The repeated trauma from biting your nails can also lead to sensitive teeth and can cause chips and fractures in your teeth. When you come in for your twice-yearly checkup, our dentist will examine your teeth to check for any damage from nail biting. And we may recommend treatments to restore your smile to its proper health if needed.

  • Smoking

Tobacco products contain nicotine and harmful chemicals that erode tooth enamel and cause gum disease. Not to mention the fact that tobacco use is a risk factor for cancer. If quitting cold turkey isn’t an option, talk to your healthcare professional about smoking cessation aids or medications that can help curb your cravings.

Smoking not only affects your oral health, but it also negatively impacts your overall wellness. In addition to increasing your risk for oral cancer, lung cancer, and other health issues, smoking can stain your teeth and affect your breath. If you are a smoker, talk with your dentist about the benefits of kicking the habit for good. Your dentist can also offer suggestions on how to maintain better oral health and wellness.

  • Brushing Teeth Aggressively

When you brush your teeth too roughly or with a toothbrush with stiff bristles, you may end up wearing down your enamel and damaging the gums. Your toothbrush should have soft bristles and be gentle enough to clean your teeth without causing damage.

Using a hard-bristled toothbrush doesn’t just harm your gums; it may also lead to receding gums and other periodontal diseases. Talk to your dentist about choosing a toothbrush that is right for your oral health needs.

  • Teeth Grinding

While you may not be doing it intentionally, regularly grinding your teeth can be damaging to your smile. Some patients grind their teeth so forcefully that they wear down their tooth enamel or even chip a tooth. Others may grind their teeth during sleep and not even realize they’re doing it. By scheduling a consultation with your dentist and getting a custom nightguard to protect your teeth while you sleep, you can be on your way to preventing further damage to your smile.

  • Using Teeth As Tools

Your teeth are for chewing food, not opening packages or plastic or cracking nuts. If you use your teeth as a tool to open things, you put pressure on the teeth and can damage them over time.

You should also avoid chewing on hard objects like ice, pens, pencils, or fingernails. All of these can break a tooth or crack the enamel. This can cause tooth sensitivity or make the tooth more susceptible to decay. 

  • Not Visiting the Dentist Regularly

If you don’t visit the dentist every six months for checkups and cleanings, you may be at risk for many oral health problems. The plaque that accumulates on your teeth will eventually harden into tartar if it isn’t removed through daily brushing and flossing. This hard substance can only be removed by a professional cleaning, which is why regular dental visits are essential for your oral health. Your dental hygienist can also spot signs of other oral issues you may not be aware of, such as early signs of gum disease or oral cancer. Cavities can also be spotted during routine exams and treated before they develop into more painful and expensive issues. Additionally, your dentist can help you maintain good oral hygiene habits at home by teaching you proper techniques to brush and floss properly.

To learn more about our dental services, you can schedule your appointment with our Torrance dentist by calling Nishikawa Family Dentistry at (310) 543-1655 or visiting us at 3556 Torrance Boulevard, Suite C, Torrance, CA 90503. 

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