Your teeth are affected by what you do (and don’t do) every day. Many of us have bad habits, and understanding how these are affecting your teeth could be the motivation you need to break them for good – before you need dental treatments to fix the damage.
1. Grinding or clenching your teeth
Do you grind your teeth or clench your jaw when you feel stressed or when you’re asleep? You’re not alone. This condition is called bruxism and can affect people of all ages for different reasons.
Repeated grinding or clenching can weaken your teeth over time, making them more easily damaged or more sensitive. It can also put strain on your jaw joints and lead to temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMD), which can cause aches and pains.
Teeth grinding needs to be treated at the source. Your dentist can help you to understand why you’re grinding or clenching your teeth and may recommend preventive treatments such as a night splint to help you overcome it.
2. Biting your nails
Nail biting can chip and wear down your teeth, which may require a restorative treatment such as a crown to fix. It can also put pressure on your jaw.
Knowing when and why you bite your nails can be the key to breaking the habit. Keep an object with you that you can hold or squeeze at times when you feel like biting, or apply bad-tasting nail polish to make them less appealing.
3. Sucking your thumb
Thumb sucking is a common habit for many young children, and it usually stops before their permanent teeth start to come through. If your child still likes to suck their thumb while their teeth are developing or are already present in their mouth, this can cause them to become crooked and require orthodontic treatment when they’re older.
Parents can try to discourage thumb sucking by educating their child about why it’s bad, keeping them occupied and distracted at times when they’re likely to pop the thumb in, or even even covering up their thumbs during sleep.
4. Brushing too hard
Brushing your teeth twice a day is an important part of your oral hygiene routine, but if you brush too abrasively, you risk scratching and wearing away the enamel surface of your teeth and irritating your gums.
Your dentist can demonstrate the correct brushing technique during your appointment. They may recommend a brush with softer bristles or an electric toothbrush if you find those easier to use.
5. Biting and chewing objects
If you’re in the habit of crunching ice, chewing pens or opening plastic packaging with your teeth – don’t! You risk chipping or cracking your tooth, which may need a dental crown or filling to repair.
Drink cold drinks with a straw to avoid contact with ice and put down pens and other objects when you’re not using them, so they don’t end up between your teeth. Make sure you always have a pair of scissors handy to open packaging – your teeth are not tools!
6. Snacking between meals
Every time you eat, even when it’s healthy food, your teeth are subjected to acids that can wear down the enamel surface and increase your risk of cavities. The more times you eat in a day, the more often this happens.
You can try to avoid snacking by eating filling, balanced meals. If you do need to snack, you should avoid sugar as this feeds bacteria in your mouth and can form plaque. Rinse your mouth with plain water after every snack.
It doesn’t just stain your teeth and give you bad breath – smoking is also linked with a higher risk of tooth decay and gum disease, which can cause cavities and even tooth loss. Smoking is also the primary cause of oral cancer.
If you need help to give up smoking, your dentist or doctor may be able to offer advice or recommend services you can talk to.
Talk to a dentist in Erskineville
Do you need to speak to a dentist, or is it time for your check-up and clean? Get in touch with our friendly team at Sydney Park Dental in Erskineville. We’ll help you to book an appointment at a time that’s good for you.
Call us today on (02) 8084 7170 or contact us online.