Everyone has their vices: Maybe you indulge in sweets too often or you chew on a pencil while deep in thought. These habits can actually be harmful, and you may be guilty of several other habits that are detrimental to your oral health as well. Here are a few harmful dental habits to avoid.
- Grinding your teeth: Teeth grinding, which is also called bruxism, can cause serious oral problems if you do this regularly. People typically grind their teeth when they are asleep, and this habit—like most habits—stems from anxiety and stress. A sign that you may be grinding your sleep is that you wake up with a sore jaw or a headache.
The more you grind your teeth, the shorter and flatter they become; in fact, the problem may become so severe that your teeth may require dental bridges, crowns, implants or other restorative options. Furthermore, this habit can cause temporomandibular joint disorders, better known as TMJ, which affects your chewing ability and can cause discomfort.
- Chewing fingernails: Many people are guilty of the nervous habit of biting their fingernails. What they don’t realize, though, is that doing so can cause your teeth to wear down much more quickly than they should. In fact, when you bite your nails, you place extra pressure on your front teeth, so you could end up with crooked teeth. In addition, fingernail biting introduces germs into your mouth and thus is very unsanitary.
- Chewing ice: When you chomp on ice, you are also wearing down your teeth, and this can cause chips or cracks in the teeth’s surfaces. The cracks appear because your teeth are constantly shifting from hot to cold temperatures. This can cause tooth sensitivity or weakened teeth long-term.
Another seemingly harmless habit is to neglect your regular six-month dental checkups. Even if you brush and floss at home, only your family dentist can remove the food debris that has hardened on your teeth. Failure to remove this can lead to more serious problems, such as gum disease. Contact the office of Dr. Gregory Allen Kerbel at (972) 278-9901 to learn more about how we can help you to maintain your oral health and to avoid bad dental habits that can have long-term consequences.