Is it cliché to have a New Year’s Resolution? Probably, but there are a few habits you’d like to kick to the curb! It’s common for people to want to start living a healthy lifestyle. Why not be completely healthy and improve your dental health too? Poor oral health can put you at risk for heart disease and stroke.
6 Habits That Harm Your Teeth
Nail biting can chip or crack teeth. It can even fracture the enamel on your teeth from chewing on hard surfaces. Also, it has an impact on your jaw and as a result, you can develop TMJ. Even though we wash our hands, it’s hard to keep them clean. Nail biting also leads to gingivitis, there is a lot of dirt under our fingernails we aren’t aware of.
Are you grossed out yet? Need tips to stop the biting? Cut them short! If you prefer the longer nail look, paint it with bitter-tasting nail polish. If you don’t like color, you can always opt for a clear coat! Because nail biting is often stress-induced, get a tiny stress ball or something to fidget with to keep your hands busy.
Chewing on ice can break your tooth or filling. While your teeth are far stronger than ice there are instances that ice can break your teeth. Particularly if your enamel is damaged by decay or injury. Slow down the chewing and try drinks without ice so you won’t be tempted. If you insist on the ice, drink with a straw and a lid to keep the ice out of sight.
Teeth as tools may seem convenient at the time but are not good for your teeth. They aren’t supposed to open bags, rip tags off, hold things, or open bottles. They are strong but using them as tools can result in cracks and fracture or even worse, oral and facial injuries. Biting or chewing metal can cause serious damage. We have real tools made especially for things so you don’t have to use your teeth. Such as bottle openers, scissors, and bags. Teeth are for chewing and smiling!
Hard brushing can cause damage to your gums. Soft bristles are the best for your gums. This can be tricky because it’s good to brush twice a day, but how do you know if you are brushing too hard? A sign is a frayed toothbrush, yes that’s common with an old toothbrush. But if it starts to fray within the first three months, relax on the pressure. If you also begin to notice your gums receding, soften up on the brushing! Don’t squish the bristles against your gums! Think about brushing as a gentle massage, slow and steady win the race!
Smoking and use of other tobacco products increase your risk of oral cancer. It can turn your teeth yellow or brown. You are also at risk for tooth decay, gum disease, bone damage, and tooth loss. Over time your gums get weaker and will have trouble properly holding your teeth in place.
Not visiting your dentist is a no-brainer! It’s important to see your dentist every 6 months to avoid issues. Regular dental cleanings prevent tartar from eroding your teeth which helps prevents cavities and gum disease. Besides having your teeth professionally cleaned, you get checked for other abnormalities that could be a larger health issue.
Repeat this to yourself: New Year, New me. Cross things off your list, spice up your oral routine, go crazy at the gym, and eat healthy trendy foods. And most importantly, share how important a solid oral health routine is. Smile at all camera opportunities, and show the benefits of a healthy smile.
Dr. Dhariwal, DDS
2370 Maritime Dr.
Elk Grove, CA 95758