Karen J Harris, DMD & Associates

Bad Habits That Can Damage Our Oral Health

Bad Habits That Can Damage Our Oral Health

It’s often hard to break bad habits, but maintaining good oral hygiene habits is crucial to maintaining a healthy mouth. Here are some common bad habits that can negatively affect your oral health.

  • Not brushing and flossing regularly

Brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes each session with a toothbrush that has soft bristles can go a long way toward keeping plaque at bay, but getting your teeth and gums truly clean requires more than just the two minutes of brushing recommended to most adults. You also need to floss once a day to remove food debris from between teeth that your toothbrush can’t reach. If you don’t do this, you’re leaving yourself open to a whole host of problems that can lead to cavities and gum disease.

  • Nail Biting

What many people don’t realize is that nail biting can be quite damaging to your teeth and oral health. Nail biting is a common bad habit that occurs mostly among children. However, adults can also develop this habit. Biting your nails can cause damage to your tooth enamel. Over time, biting on hard objects such as fingernails can lead to chips, cracks, and breaks in the teeth. You may also chip or break a tooth while chewing on your metal braces or other dental appliances.

  • Smoking

Smoking is one of the worst habits for our teeth. It can lead to gum disease, receding gums, oral cancer, bad breath, and more. Smoking can also cause stains and discoloration on the enamel of your teeth. Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for your oral and overall health. For support quitting, visit our dentist in St. Louis, MO, and ask about products that can help.

Cigarette smokers are six times more likely to develop periodontal disease than non-smokers. Smokers are twice as likely to lose their teeth prematurely as non-smokers, according to the Journal of Dental Research. Smoking also causes dry mouth, which leads to a higher risk for tooth decay because saliva is unable to do its job by washing away bacteria in the mouth. Those who smoke are also prone to experiencing chronic bad breath, which is caused by a buildup of plaque in the mouth. Smoking can also stain the teeth and cause yellowing and darkening of the crown or top of the tooth, known as extrinsic staining. The nicotine in cigarettes decreases blood flow to your gums, which makes it harder for your mouth to fight infection and heal after an oral procedure. To quit smoking, you should talk to your doctor about different routes, such as nicotine patches or gum, medication, counseling, or more intensive treatment. There are also treatments available to help you quit the habit. Contact our dentist in St. Louis, MO, about the best option for you.

  • Brushing Teeth Aggressively

Many people brush their teeth too hard. Over time, this can cause damage to the enamel and gums. So, take care to brush your teeth gently and use a soft-bristled toothbrush. A variety of toothpaste and rinses are available to help strengthen enamel and fight bacteria. Be sure to visit a dentist for routine checkups and cleanings.

  • Teeth Grinding

Teeth grinding is a common habit that can lead to several oral health problems over time. You may notice frequent headaches or facial soreness when you wake up, and your teeth may feel loose throughout the day due to constant pressure from your jaws. Schedule an appointment with our dentist in 63103 as soon as possible if you suspect that you’re grinding while you sleep. He or she may recommend wearing a night guard to protect teeth from excessive wear.

  • Abusing Alcohol

Drinking too much alcohol can have a negative impact on your dental health. Alcohol can dry out your mouth and alter your normal saliva production, leading to chronic bad breath. Poor oral hygiene habits can also stain your teeth if you use alcohol-based mouthwashes. In addition, drinking alcohol can cause you to lose sleep, which can affect the quality of your sleep and lead to teeth grinding (bruxism) which can wear down or damage your teeth.

Ways to Break These Habits and Improve Oral Health

When it comes to breaking bad habits that can harm our oral health, awareness is key. Start by identifying the habits that are causing damage, such as excessive sugar consumption or forgetting to floss regularly. Once you pinpoint these behaviors, you can work on replacing them with healthier alternatives.

One effective way to improve your oral health is by establishing a consistent oral hygiene in St. Louis, MO. Brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing daily are simple yet crucial steps in maintaining a healthy smile. Additionally, consider using mouthwash to help kill bacteria and freshen your breath.

Another important aspect of improving oral health is watching what you eat and drink. Limit sugary snacks and beverages, as they can contribute to tooth decay and gum disease. Opt for nutritious foods like fruits, vegetables, and dairy products instead.

Don't forget the importance of regular dental check-ups. Visiting our dentist in St. Louis, MO, every six months for cleanings and exams can help catch any issues early on before they escalate into bigger problems. By making these small changes in your daily routine, you'll be well on your way to achieving optimal oral health.

Get in touch with our office, Karen J Harris & Associates, at 2000 Locust, St. Louis, MO 63103, or call (314) 231-4893 to learn more. Our team will be happy to have you here!


2000 Locust, St. Louis, MO 63103

Office Hours

MON - THU 9:00 am - 6:00 pm

FRI - SUN Closed

Get in Touch

Email: kharrisdmd@sbcglobal.net

Phone: (314) 231-4893