Should You Be Chewing On That? Bad Dental Habits to Avoid

Posted .

So, you brush at least twice a day and floss at least once a day, just like you should. You also see your dentist at least twice a year, and you never wait so long to visit that dental problems, like tiny cavities, turn into dental disasters. However, even though you do all these things to protect your teeth, you may still put your teeth at risk with other bad habits.

Read through our list of bad habits below.  Any of them look familiar?  If so, stop immediately, and ask your dentist if your teeth have any damage the next time you see them. Damaged teeth have a higher risk for cavities and other problems, so you’ll want to treat and strengthen them as soon as possible.

1. You Chew on Ice or Other Hard Objects
Hard items put a lot of stress on your teeth. Enamel is hard,and it has the sturdiness to withstand most of the tough foods that you eat. However, enamel’s hardness cannot stand up to objects that you shouldn’t chew on, like toys, pens, random bits of plastic and, everybody’s favorite, ice!
Ice presents a particularly serious problem for compulsive chewers. Not only is ice too hard for your enamel, but it also adds cold to the equation. The cold makes your enamel contract and expand as you chew, so your enamel could develop tiny cracks. If you accidentally bite down too hard while chewing ice, your teeth could break more easily against the ice than they could against other objects. If you feel the need to chew something tough, chew nuts or gum instead until you kick this detrimental habit.

2. You Grind Your Teeth When You Feel Angry
Some people grind their teeth unconsciously, so they won’t know they have the habit until they talk to their dentist. Other people grind their teeth actively when they feel frustrated. If you fall into this category, you may have inadvertently damaged your teeth. As you grind your teeth back and forth, they exert stress on the teeth around them and create the same kind of problem you’d have if you chewed on hard objects. Your teeth could eventually crack if you grind too hard. Ask your dentist about a mouth guard or other dental device if you cannot break this habit on your own.
3. You Smoke or Chew Tobacco
Not only do these substances contain toxic chemicals that ruin your mouth’s immune response, but they dry out your mouth as well. If your mouth dries out too much, your gums could recede and partially expose your tooth roots. The roots don’t have thick enamel like the rest of the tooth. Combine the exposed roots with a limited immune response, and you have a great recipe for cavities and infections.  If you have this habit, take this opportunity to quit. Talk to your medical and dental professionals to get advice and support.
4. You Eat Sugary or Acidic Snacks All Day Long
Here’s the good news:  if you snack on sugary or acidic foods one or two times a day, your teeth won’t necessarily suffer. The amount of sugar doesn’t matter as much as the length of exposure. But, longer the bacteria in your mouth have to feed on sugar, the more damage they can do. Bacteria metabolize the sugar into acid, which breaks down your enamel. Acidic foods only accelerate the process. To avoid this problem, snack on savory and healthy foods like vegetables and low-fat dairy products instead. And if you drink soda, switch it out for water more often. Your entire body, in addition to your mouth, will be healthier as a result.
5. You Open Bottles and Packaging With Your Teeth
Remember how biting hard objects or grinding your teeth causes enamel damage? When you use your teeth as pliers or an extra pair of scissors, you expose your teeth to a double threat.  Not only do you bite something hard, but you pull on your teeth when you drag that object away from your mouth as well. This means you get the damage from biting and grinding all at once. Additionally, you could cut your mouth open if you slip while opening the bottle or package. Avoid the temptation to open things with your mouth. Use scissors or pliers instead.

If your teeth have already suffered damage because of these habits, talk to your dentist. He can use fillings, crowns, and even implants to give you a beautiful, pain-free smile again. So don’t wait-schedule your appointment today!