Bad Dental Habits
By Andrew Mortensen, DDS on September 29, 2015
Taking good care of your teeth, gums, and jaws could allow you to retain your natural teeth and good oral health throughout your life. However, some of the habits you develop may adversely affect your teeth, causing cavities, stains, fractures or breakage. In some instances, daily habits can destroy healthy gum tissue or cause stress on your jaw joints, increasing your risk for dental problems. If your destructive oral habits have caused problems, you may need restorative dentistry treatment to improve the health of your teeth and gums. To learn more about bad dental habits, contact our Fountain Valley practice today.
Behaviors to Avoid
The following habits can cause mild to serious oral health problems. Knowing what initiates problems in your mouth gives you an opportunity to stop the behaviors before damage occurs. Take a good look at this list, and talk with Dr. Mortensen at your next checkup or call our office should you have any questions or concerns about your dental health.
- Chewing hard foods, objects, or fingernails places stress on tooth enamel. Chewing hard-shelled nuts or ice, for instance, can lead to a cracked tooth. Habitually chewing on pen caps or fingernails also wears down tooth enamel over time. This can lead to sensitivity, due to thinning enamel. If you have developed an oral fixation, try chewing sugar-free gum with xylitol. It actually reduces the risk of cavities and is good for your mouth.
- Eating dark foods and drinking dark beverages will stain natural tooth enamel. Though enamel is strong - the strongest tissue the body creates - it is also porous and will absorb tannins from staining foods and beverages, as well as tobacco. After consuming dark foods and drinks, rinse your mouth thoroughly with water.
- Eating acidic foods and drinking acidic beverages will allow enamel to erode, which leads to increased tooth sensitivity. Acids mix with saliva and actually deplete enamel of the phosphorus and calcium that gives it its strength. In a softened state, enamel is prone to erosion, as well as bacterial invasion and cavity development. If you’re going to have a glass of orange juice, use a straw. Also, rinse your mouth thoroughly with water after eating or drinking high-acid foods and drinks.
- Picking the teeth with hard objects can irritate your gums and lodge food particles further between teeth. Instead of using a toothpick to clean your teeth, carry handheld, disposable flossers in your purse or car. The dental tape or floss on these little tools is safe for your teeth and will even leave your mouth minty fresh.
- Biting the lips and cheeks irritates soft tissues and can lead to dry, cracking lips; irritated, sore cheeks; and mouth ulcers. If you are a lip sucker, coat your lips with ChapStick® occasionally.
- Teeth grinding and gnashing will wear the teeth down and cause crazing, a web of tiny cracks on the surface of a tooth. Most often, people grind their teeth while sleeping, but daytime clenching and grinding can occur. If you have unexplained tooth sensitivity, your sleeping partner says that you grind your teeth at night, or you know that you do, an oral appliance may help resolve the dental deterioration.
- Tobacco use is bad for your heart, lungs, and oral health. It increases the risk for oral cancer, and it also irritates the soft tissues in the mouth. Furthermore, tobacco stains teeth with a yellowish or brownish hue that is not attractive. If you smoke or chew tobacco, stop.
- Neglecting dental care may be the most common cause of gum disease, tooth decay, and oral health problems. You should brush twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste, floss once daily, and attend six-month checkups and cleanings with Dr. Mortensen.
Contact Our Office Today
If bad oral habits have damaged your teeth, gums, or jaw joints, call us today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Mortensen. He will assess your mouth and let you know whether any restorative dental procedures are necessary to improve your oral health.
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“I am proud to have served patients in our community. Through continuing education and state-of-the-art equipment, we are able to offer you and your family the high level of care you're looking for.” Andrew G. Mortensen, D.D.S.