10 Surprising Habits That Affect Your Teeth and Jaws

Hands,Of,The,Dentist,Hold,A,Breadboard,Model,Of,TheEveryone knows brushing their teeth is important for good oral health. But there are some everyday habits people have that can worsen their dental health and even lead to or worsen TMJ dysfunction. Part of our jobs in preventative dentistry is informing patients about surprising habits that may be negatively impacting their oral health. Do you do any of these?

10 Habits That Can Harm Your Teeth and Jaws

  • Biting your nails — Nail biting can chip teeth, strain the jaw, and even introduce bacteria into the mouth that cause disease or illness. Keep your hands away to keep germs at bay!
  • Chewing hard candy — Hard candies are not only filled with sugar, but they can put tremendous strain on your teeth, which can lead to chips or cracks. Sucking on them is safer, but this also causes sugar to linger on your teeth for longer. When you do indulge, be sure to rinse with water and brush ASAP.
  • Biting ice — Just like hard candies, ice can damage your teeth, so it’s best to leave it in your drink. If you like chewing on any, be sure to use small ice chips that are easier to chew and melt faster.
  • Chewing gum — All gum isn’t bad, but sugary gum that you chew for long periods can increase the risk of cavities. Also, chewing gum may place stress on the jaw and worsen the symptoms of TMJ disorder.
  • Sucking on cough drops — Cough drops are often loaded with sugar, meaning they can increase the risk of cavities.
  • Jaw-clenching or teeth-grinding — Clenching your jaw or grinding your teeth from stress, unconsciously, or any other reason can lead to TMJ dysfunction and wear down your teeth. Getting treatment for either of these habits is important to protect your oral health.
  • Brushing too hard or too often — Brushing too hard or too frequently can wear down the enamel on your teeth, increasing the risk of tooth decay. Brushing too frequently can also raise the chance of gum disease by eliminating the good bacteria from your mouth.
  • Not drinking enough water — Staying hydrated is important for oral health because it rinses the mouth. It also helps promote saliva production, which acts as a neutralizer against acidic agents and bacteria that cause tooth decay.
  • Opening or tearing things with your teeth — Though they may be effective, teeth are not designed to work as bottle-openers, wrenches, or scissors. This can cause chips, cracks, and jaw pain and introduce more bacteria into the mouth.
  •  Frequent snacking — Eating more frequently means increasing the amount of plaque on your teeth between brushing. If you do eat often, then you should consider brushing and rising more frequently to prevent buildup. At the same time, it is important to avoid overbrushing and disrupting your mouth’s natural microbiome.

Schedule Your Next Visit With Soft Touch Dentistry

If you need any help with your oral health, our team is here to help. We offer a wide range of general, cosmetic, and emergency dental care to help you protect your smile. Led by Dr. Nazila Bidabadi, we offer every patient personalized, effective treatment with the latest dental tools and technology.

Please contact us online or call our office in Brighton, MA (617-782-9250) or Newton, MA (617-332-8146) to request an appointment.

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