Bad Habits That Can Affect Your Oral Health

Good dental hygiene habits lead to a healthy mouth and teeth. Some habits, however, can have a negative effect on our mouth’s well-being. Listed below are a few bad habits that can affect our oral health.

  • Nail Biting

Nail biting is a bad habit that has many negative side effects on our oral health and appearance. It can cause our teeth to become worn down and shorter over time, with enamel wearing away as a result. This can lead to tooth sensitivity and increased susceptibility to cavities and infection. Constant nail biting can also cause our front teeth to slant and become crooked, which can result in cosmetic issues down the road. Since nail biting is a subconscious behavior, it can often be difficult to break this habit on your own. Talk to your dentist about ways you can break this bad habit for good! Treatments such as mouthguards and topical fluoride treatments may help to protect your teeth from the effects of nail biting.

  • Using Teeth As Tools

Your teeth were made for chewing food. They are not meant for opening packages or cutting tape. Use scissors and other tools for all your non-food needs. If you constantly use your teeth as tools, you could chip, crack, or otherwise damage them over time. If your tooth ends up broken or damaged, you may need a crown or other restoration to fix it. A crown will restore your tooth’s size, shape, and strength while covering it to prevent further damage or decay to your tooth. 

  • Chewing Ice Cubes

Ice cubes are delicious and refreshing on a hot day, but chewing on them can chip or crack your teeth. The cold temperature of the ice cube can cause your enamel to crack or fracture. Your dentist can fix chips and cracks with dental crowns. Crowns are caps that fit over your existing teeth to restore their size and shape. For added strength, your crown is bonded to a natural tooth using dental cement.

  • Thumb Sucking

A very common bad habit among children is thumb sucking or finger sucking. This can be caused by a natural reflex when children feel soothed by it, and it can also become a learned habit from parents or other people around them doing so. Children may suck their thumbs due to teething discomfort, stress, boredom, comfort, a small mouth, or a misalignment of the teeth. If a child sucks his or her thumb often enough, it can cause the teeth to move out of alignment, which can lead to crooked teeth and more issues.

There are many options for children who can’t stop sucking their thumbs, such as getting an orthodontic appliance for the teeth and using positive reinforcement to encourage the child to stop. Edentulous patients who lose all of their teeth are able to use dental implants to get a prosthetic tooth that mimics the shape and feel of a natural tooth. Other people may prefer to get a fixed bridge or a removable denture. Another option for people who have dentures is the use of implant-supported dentures, which greatly improve comfort and fit compared to regular dentures. For those patients who want a more permanent solution than a regular denture, they can get a permanent fixed bridge with dental implants.

  • Teeth Grinding

Bruxism is the medical term for constant teeth grinding and jaw clenching. This habit tends to worsen when a patient is under stress or in pain—which can occur with gum recession, gum disease, TMD, and more. Patients tend to grind their teeth during their sleep as well. If bruxism goes untreated, patients can experience damaged teeth and jaws. It can also result in chronic headaches, earaches, and even neck pain.

  • Brushing Too Hard

Many of us grew up being told to brush our teeth three times a day for two minutes each time. However, there is no medical proof that proves this is a good habit to form. In fact, brushing too forcefully can actually be harmful to your teeth and gums.

When brushing your teeth, you should not apply so much pressure that it causes any pain or discomfort. This is called tooth sensitivity or dentin hypersensitivity, and it can occur from toothbrush abrasion and eroded enamel. This can lead to sensitive teeth and can worsen the problem by causing gum recession in the long run.

Additionally, brushing with too much force can lead to the loosening of your tooth’s attachment to the bone. This can result in tooth loss. That’s why we recommend brushing gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush to avoid these problems.

At Mountain Stream Dental, Dr. Gerald L. Torgeson and the team give the best quality dental care to all patients. Call us at (541) 345-5363 to schedule a consultation.


498 Harlow Rd #2, Springfield, OR 97477

Phone: (541) 345-5363

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