We’ve all had our share of less-than-ideal habits throughout life, whether it was biting your nails as a kid (or even still now as an adult) or splurging too frequently on dinner out with friends. Some habits—like your morning jog—are beneficial for your health, while others—that late-night dessert you indulge in sporadically—aren’t. But did you know certain, often mindless habits can wreak havoc on your teeth and oral health? Today, we’re exploring some of those habits and outlining the dangers they pose to your pearly whites.
1. Playing Sports Without A Mouth Guard
They may not be conventionally cool, but they sure do their part in preventing injuries to your mouth and teeth while you play sports. Mouth guards are plastic trays that fit around your upper teeth and can help prevent chipping or complete tooth loss from injuries incurred during rough contact sports. Self-moulding trays can be purchased at sporting goods stores or your dentist can fit you for a custom guard.
2. Opening Packages With Your Teeth
We’re all guilty of this one. Sometimes the scissors are just out of reach, and you reflexively put a package in your mouth to tear it open. However, this action can chip or crack your teeth, and it simply isn’t worth the risk. Use your hands or grab scissors to help rip open that tough packaging instead.
3. Chewing On Ice, Pens, And Pencils
Ice may seem like a tooth-friendly snack because it’s lacking in cavity-causing sugar, but that’s far from the truth. Not only can chewing on hard objects like ice, pens, and pencils chip and crack your teeth, it can also damage the soft tissue inside of your teeth. When the urge to chew on something strikes, try sugarless gum instead.
4. Grinding Teeth
Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, can wear dental enamel and chip teeth if done incessantly. Because this habit is most often performed as a stress reliever or unconsciously while you sleep, grinding your teeth can be a hard habit to break. Sugarless gum during the day or a mouth guard at night can help reduce your grinding and save your teeth.
5. Eating Sugary, Chewy Foods
While no sweets are good for your teeth or overall health, those sticky, gummy candies may be the worst perpetrators of them all. The sticky nature of treats like gummy bears and worms lodge themselves onto teeth and can stay stuck for hours, promoting bacteria growth and cavity formation. If giving up the gummies isn’t happening, indulge in these snacks during mealtimes when saliva production is increased and the sugar can be washed away from your teeth.
6. Smoking And Tobacco Products
Not only can smoking and using tobacco stain your teeth and leave you with bad breath, habitual tobacco usage can also lead to gum disease, tooth decay, tooth loss, and various forms of oral cancer. Quitting as soon as possible can help save your smile from these harmful effects.
We don’t always consider how our small habits affect our health, but sometimes these actions are more impactful than we realize.
If you have questions about anything you’ve read today or would like to talk to your dentist about your oral habits, give us a call at Oak Park Dental Group in Chicago today!