Tuesday, March 3, 2015

4 Bad Habits That Damage Your Teeth

Let's be honest - we all probably have at least one or two bad habits. We're human, after all. But did you know that there are some habits that, while they may seem harmless, are actually very harmful to our teeth and overall dental health?

In this post, we'll review a few of these bad habits and how they can wreak havoc on your pearly whites!

1. Eating ice cubes

Chewing on ice is something a lot of people do because it provides a certain sensory satisfaction. Even though there's really no taste to ice, the cold temperature and crunchy texture is appealing to many. But chewing on ice is actually quite bad for your teeth's enamel. Enamel is a protective layer that keeps your teeth strong and healthy. But without if that enamel breaks down, your teeth can be exposed to more bacteria and may be more susceptible to cavities. Furthermore, the hard consistency of ice can damage dental work, or even cause small cracks to form in your teeth. Over time, these cracks may become larger, letting in bacteria and perhaps even causing your teeth to fracture.

2. Forgetting to wear mouthguards

Mouthguards are standard issue for any professional athlete. However, many kids and even adults are guilty of leaving the mouthguard at home before they participate in school sports or a friendly neighborhood pick up game. This habit of forgetting (or choosing not to wear) a mouthguard can seriously endanger your dental health. Your teeth are vulnerable to being cracked or even knocked out completely during high-impact contact sports. If you have trouble finding mouthguards that fit properly, talk to your dentist about a custom-fit mouthguard to make it more comfortable.

3. Snacking on chewy candy throughout the day

While all candy can be harmful to your teeth if eaten in excess, the gummy, chewy kinds are the worst. Gummy bears, soft caramels, fruit chews and taffy may be delicious, but the chewy consistency makes them more prone to stick to your teeth. These types of candies can also become embedded in all the nooks and crannies on or between your teeth or on dental work. If you simply must enjoy these types of treats throughout the day, just make sure you're brushing AND flossing more often.

4. Chewing on inedible objects

Many people have an unconscious habit of chewing on things that are not food. Pens and pencils are probably the most common, as people are often holding them while they're concentrating. Chewing on these items can cause unnecessary pressure and potentially damage your teeth. Excessive chewing of any kind can also lead to TMJ disorder, which can be a very painful condition that causes jaw locking, jaw pain, headaches and even neck and shoulder discomfort. To break this habit, try chewing dentist-approved gum every once in a while or try developing the habit of putting objects down when you're not using them. Not having the object in your hand will likely remove the compulsion to put it in your mouth.

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