When we set goals and resolutions, fitness and health usually top the list. Do you know what rarely makes the cut? Dental health. That may be because we think brushing, flossing and regular visits to the dentist are enough. This is a great start, but sometimes bad dental health habits can outweigh brushing and flossing. If you’re experiencing dental pain, make an emergency dentist appointment right away.
Here are 10 bad dental habits you should avoid and tips on how to break them.
1. Chewing ice cubes
After enjoying a nice, cold drink – especially on a hot day – we often chew on the remaining ice absentmindedly. Chewing ice cubes can crack or chip away at your tooth’s enamel. Weak or damaged enamel can cause tooth sensitivity and may become painful enough to require an emergency dentist appointment.
Solution: Chill your beverages to reduce the need for ice, or use a straw to lessen the temptation.
2. Smoking or chewing tobacco
Smoking and chewing tobacco products is harmful to your overall health and negatively affects every area of your mouth. It causes stains and decay, even resulting in tooth loss. It can also lead to mouth, tongue, or lip cancer.
Solution: Your dentist can help you reduce the effects of smoking, but quitting is the best solution.
3. Grinding your teeth
Sometimes stress or anxiety causes you to clench and grind your teeth unknowingly. This habit can crack or chip your teeth, damage your jaw and lead to headaches. Over time, grinding can also wear your teeth down.
Solution: Consult your dentist. Wearing a mouthguard at night could help you overcome this issue. Practicing relaxation exercises could also be useful.
4. Brushing too hard
Contrary to popular belief, brushing aggressively will not make your teeth whiter or cleaner. Brushing too hard actually wears down your tooth enamel, making them more prone to decay, damage, and sensitivity. It can also irritate your gums and cause them to recede.
Solution: Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and change it every three to four months. Also, brush gently.
5. Nail biting
Many of us are guilty of nail biting. But while it seems harmless, biting your nails puts stress on the same teeth every time and may shift them out of place. It can also negatively impact your jaw.
Solution: Use bitter-tasting nail polishes to discourage biting, or try keeping things in your hand to keep your fingers busy.
6. Drinking too much alcohol
Alcohol dries out the mouth, making it difficult for saliva to wash away bacteria. That results in bad breath and increases your chances of getting cavities. Since alcohol is acidic, it can also harm enamel.
Solution: Limit your alcohol consumption to no more than one or two drinks per day, or choose carbonated sparkling water as an alternative.
7. Constant snacking
Your risk of developing cavities rises if you eat often throughout the day. The risk is even greater if your snacks contain sugar or starch, which encourages decay-causing bacteria.
Solution: Reduce the urge to snack by eating balanced meals that leave you fuller for longer. When you do have a quick bite, make sure it’s low in fat and sugar and drink a tall glass of water to wash away leftover food.
8. Chewing on pencils and pens
Lots of people chew on their pencils or pens – often without even realizing it. This habit can move, chip, or break your teeth. It can also damage the soft tissue inside your teeth, leading to discomfort and sensitivity.
Solution: Keep your mouth busy by chewing vegetables or sugar-free gum instead.
9. Using your teeth as a tool
Our teeth are for eating. However, sometimes we use them as a stand-in for scissors or bottle openers. Using our teeth as tools puts them at risk of cracking and chipping and can even cause jaw damage.
Solution: Use the right tools. Stop and look for assistance, either from something or someone. Your teeth and your emergency dentist will appreciate it.
10. Not flossing daily
Flossing is a key element of good oral health. However, this task is frequently ignored or forgotten entirely. If you don’t floss daily, plaque will build up between your teeth and gums. That can lead to gingivitis and cause your gums to swell and bleed.
Solution: Start flossing today and make it a daily habit.
Emergency Dentistry in Slidell
Do you have any of these unhealthy dental habits? If so, kick them to the curb and start fresh with good dental hygiene. The best place to start is by going to an emergency dental clinic.
The dental professionals at Fremaux Dental Care will assist you in developing good dental hygiene practices. We provide quality services to preserve your oral health, whether you require restorative dental services or regular cleaning.