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.
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.
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 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 your dentist 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. Talk to your dentist about the best option for you.
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 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 your dentist 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.
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.
Get in touch with Karen J Harris & Associates at 2000 Locust, St. Louis, MO 63103, or call (314) 231-4893 to learn more about the perks of good oral care.