Good oral hygiene encompasses more than the routine brushing and flossing; it also involves being mindful of our daily habits. At Pickett Family Dental in Keller, TX, we recognize that some habits can significantly impact your dental health without you even realizing it. Here, we outline five common bad dental habits and provide detailed advice on how to avoid them, ensuring your smile stays healthy and bright.

Bad Dental Habits to Kick

Bad dental habits are a dime a dozen, and most people are unaware that they do them or of the consequences they have to their overall dental health. Some of them are common nervous habits, such as biting your nails. If you want to know if you have any bad dental habits that you need to kick, then ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you open things with your teeth?
  • Do you floss sufficiently?
  • Do you chew ice?
  • Do you sip on sugary drinks throughout the day?
  • Do you bite your nails?
  • Do you chew gums?
  • Have you been ignoring dental pain?

Using Teeth as Tools

It’s tempting to use your teeth to rip open a package or crack open a nut when proper tools aren’t within easy reach. However, this practice can be harmful. Using your teeth as tools can lead to chips and fractures, which may require complex dental procedures to fix. Always use appropriate tools like scissors for opening packages. Keeping these tools accessible can help avoid the temptation to use your teeth.

Neglecting Flossing

Many people skip flossing because it seems time-consuming or they don’t feel immediate benefits. However, flossing plays a critical role in removing debris and plaque from areas your toothbrush can’t reach, which are potential sites for cavities and gum disease. To incorporate flossing seamlessly into your routine, try flossing while doing another activity, such as watching TV or listening to a podcast. This can make the process feel quicker and more enjoyable.

Chewing Ice

Chewing ice might seem harmless, but the combination of its hardness and cold temperature can cause microfractures in your teeth. Over time, these can lead to larger fractures and require treatments like fillings or crowns. If you find yourself craving something to chew on, opt for a healthier alternative like crunchy vegetables. These can satisfy your need to crunch without risking your teeth.

Sipping Sugary Drinks Throughout the Day

Regular consumption of sugary drinks, including sodas and some fruit juices, is a leading cause of tooth decay. These drinks bathe your teeth in sugar and acid, which wear down enamel and promote cavity formation. If cutting out these drinks entirely isn’t an option, try to limit them to meal times and rinse your mouth with water or brush your teeth afterward to minimize their impact. Transitioning to water or unsweetened beverages can also make a significant difference in your oral health.

Nail Biting and Dental Damage

Nails are harder than you might think and can cause quite a bit of damage over time to your pearly white teeth, even to the point of micro fractures, chipped, and cracked teeth. Over time, chewing on certain parts of your teeth repetitively can cause the teeth to wear down and cause you to have an uneven bite, which has more repercussions on its’ own.

On another note, have you heard about the number of germs on your hands, fingers, and under your nails!?! Gross! The space underneath your nails has massive amounts of bacteria. By biting your nails, you’re inviting a swarm of bacteria into your mouth that can cause mouth and gum disease, tooth decay and other malicious problems.

Moral of the story, avoid nail biting to protect your teeth!

Chewing Gum a Cause of Teeth Grinding

Many people try chewing gum instead of biting their nails, but this can cause an entirely separate issue for your teeth that leads to the same detriment of your oral health. Chewing gum can trigger bruxism, the grinding of your teeth, especially in your sleep. We’ve gone in depth on bruxism in the past.

However, if you don’t have trouble with grinding your teeth, then chewing sugar-free gum can have benefits such as improving the amount of saliva that’s in your mouth, that can help reduce bacteria, plaque, and food particles sitting on top of your pearly white teeth.

Ignoring Dental Pain or Discomfort

Dismissing dental discomfort can lead to more severe issues that are more complicated and costly to address. Dental pain is an indicator that something is not right, whether it’s a cavity, infected gum, or a damaged tooth. Contacting your dentist at the first sign of discomfort ensures that issues can be treated early, often leading to simpler and more effective outcomes.

Choose Pickett Family Dental for Comprehensive Care

At Pickett Family Dental, we not only treat dental issues but also educate our patients on how to maintain optimal oral health. Our team is dedicated to providing personalized care in a friendly and welcoming environment, ensuring that each visit is as comfortable and productive as possible.

Kicking these bad dental habits is essential for maintaining a healthy and vibrant smile. If you’re looking to improve your dental health or if you need personalized advice on how to break these habits, we invite you to schedule an appointment with us. Let us help you achieve and maintain a beautiful smile that lasts a lifetime.