Many of us take our teeth for granted. Day in and day out, chewing, smiling, speaking–we just assume our teeth will always be there for us.
Unfortunately, the wear and tear of everyday habits can start to take a toll on your pearly whites…and cause noticeable tooth damage much sooner than you might think.
Here are a few common habits that could be damaging your teeth.
Using Your Teeth To Open Things
Have you ever opened a plastic package, soda can or beer bottle with your teeth? Do you do it on a regular basis?
Human teeth are not meant for wrenching things open; they’re only meant for chewing. So when you subject your teeth to the harsh crunching and pressure of opening a soda can, you’re risking chipping them and eroding enamel. This is one of the most common ways to cause tooth damage that requires surgical correction, like veneers, implants or crowns.
Biting Your Nails
Some studies show that around 20-30 percent of people bite their fingernails regularly. Many dismiss this habit as harmless. It turns out, however, that nail biting is terrible for your teeth.
How does nail biting affect your pearly whites?
- Risk of chipping or cracking front teeth
- Risk of wearing down tooth enamel
- Increased risk of bruxism (excessive tooth grinding and jaw clenching)
- Risk of gum damage or injury
- Risk of illness and infection (fingernails have tons of bacteria and germs on them)
According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, the easiest way to stop biting your nails is to keep them as short as possible.
Other ways to offset the habit include using bitter-tasting nail polish, gradually weaning yourself off nail biting, and identifying nail biting triggers. Once you identify your triggers, you can formulate a plan to replace nail biting with other, less harmful habits.
Crunching ice can be a pleasant experience. If you don’t have sensitive teeth, it can be refreshing–and is way healthier than eating hard candy or crunching chips or cookies.
Unfortunately, ice can wreak its own kind of havoc on your teeth.
The biggest risk with eating ice is chipping one of your teeth. The hard edges on ice can also cause abrasions or cuts on your gums, tooth and roof of your mouth.
For others, the compulsion to eat ice can signal underlying health conditions. Craving ice has been linked with iron deficiency and even anemia. It has also been linked with compulsive disorders. Talk to your primary care doctor if you have a strong urge to eat ice or other non-food items that have no nutritional value.
Are you guilty of any (or all) of these tooth damage inducing habits? It’s okay–it’s never too late to do better! Talk with your dentist about finding reasonable solutions for replacing your bad habits with positive ones!
Want more info on tooth health and oral care? Check Patriot Family Dentistry’s blog for regular updates and new content!