We all want a beautiful, healthy smile! But many of us have habits we may not even be aware of that can ruin our chances. Most of us know that we should brush and floss our teeth daily and that not doing so can lead to major oral health problems. But there are other things we do day in and day out that can have a detrimental impact on our teeth.
Grinding Your Teeth — This often occurs during the night, so until your jaw and teeth hurt, you may not know that you are doing it. Not only does grinding strain your muscles and wear down your teeth, grinding can even fracture teeth. Depending on the severity of the fracture, the only remedy may be to remove the tooth and replace it with an implant. Relaxation exercises and wearing a nighttime mouth guard can help.
Chewing and Biting Things That Aren’t Food — Chewing pens, ice, or fingernails are all more than annoying habits — doing this can chip or break a tooth, filling, or crown. Using bitter-tasting nail polish and drinking with a straw or having chilled drinks without ice can help.
Using Your Teeth as Tools — We’ve all been tempted to save some time and open a package or remove a clothing tag with our teeth. Some even use their teeth as a bottle opener. Don’t do it — teeth aren’t “built-in tools.” Repairing or replacing a broken tooth isn’t worth the little time savings you may gain.
Brushing Too Aggressively — Yes, brushing is a good habit to have; however, brushing too hard or using a hard-bristled brush can wear away the protective layer of enamel of your tooth. It is estimated that as much as 20% of the population has had gum or tooth damage from over-brushing.
Drinking and Smoking — In addition to general health problems, drinking and smoking have direct effects on oral health. Studies show that alcohol drinkers have higher levels of plaque and are three times more likely to suffer permanent tooth loss. The list of oral problems caused by smoking is long, and includes bad breath, bleeding gums, sore throats, oral cancer, yellow teeth, and more. In fact, there isn’t much of your body that isn’t at risk from smoking.
Most of these bad habits leave signs that we can detect during a regular checkup. We can point out the damage being caused and make you aware of what can happen to your teeth if you continue. Substituting good habits for bad ones can help you maintain a healthy smile, so contact us at Reston Serenity Smiles for an appointment today!