Good oral hygiene is important to maintain our oral health. Following good habits and avoiding bad ones can keep our teeth healthy. Listed below are some of the most common bad habits that can harm oral health.
Nail biting is a bad habit that many people don't realize they have. In fact, studies show that up to 50% of children and adults bite their nails! While most people only nibble at their nails a few times a week, this bad habit can cause serious damage to your teeth. One reason that nail biting is so dangerous is that it puts you at risk of catching an infection and exposing yourself to bacteria, which can lead to gum disease. Once the gum disease is present, it can lead to a number of serious health issues, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes complications, and even some forms of cancer. Additionally, it can cause tooth loss, bone loss, gum recession, and bad breath. There's no reason to continue a habit that can have such a negative impact on your oral health and overall well-being. However, if you currently suffer from chronic nail biting and have damaged teeth resulting from the habit, your dentist can recommend a variety of restorative options to repair your smile and restore your health.
Cigarette smokers are significantly more likely to have periodontal disease than non-smokers. Additionally, a recent review of data from over 60 studies found that even second-hand smoke can damage our gums and increase our risk of tooth loss. When we inhale cigarette smoke, the toxic compounds in the cigarette enter our body through our lungs and circulation system. The toxins then travel throughout the body, where they negatively impact the health of our teeth and gums by damaging the tissues in the mouth. Even people who do not smoke have an increased risk of gum disease if they are exposed to second-hand smoke on a regular basis.
In addition to causing gum disease, cigarettes contain nicotine and other chemicals that may not only damage our gums but also lead to other health problems that, include cancer, heart disease, stroke, lung disease, and more. Quitting smoking will not only improve your gum health but can also reduce your risk of disease in other areas of your body.
If you smoke, it is important to talk with your dentist about quitting. Your doctor may be able to recommend resources to help you quit and can discuss options with you to help reduce cravings or withdrawal symptoms.
Holding the toothbrush with too much pressure or using a hard-bristled brush can wear down your teeth and damage your gums. Signs of damaging your teeth and gums from overbrushing include receding gums, sensitive teeth, and loose teeth. So, brush your teeth gently using a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste.
Bruxism is a condition where patients grind their teeth and clench their jaws. This behavior can occur involuntarily during sleep or while we're awake. People who suffer from bruxism often don't realize that they're doing it. Patients may wake up with sore jaw muscles, and it can cause damage to the enamel of their teeth. Over time, teeth grinding can shift a patient's bite out of place and lead to problems like temporomandibular joint disorders or TMJD. In some cases, dentists will even recommend wearing a mouth guard at night to prevent teeth grinding while you sleep. Wearing one of these guards can protect your teeth from damage while also preventing you from waking up with a sore jaw muscle.
When we skip our biannual visits to the dentist or put off necessary treatment due to financial reasons, we put ourselves at risk for cavities and infection. Without proper dental care, we can face serious risks to our health. It can even lead to tooth loss. On top of that, gum disease has been linked to other serious health issues such as heart attack, stroke, dementia, and more. This shows just how important the role oral health plays in our overall health.
Please visit our dental practice at 551 E. Plaza Circle STE. C, Litchfield Park, AZ 85340, to schedule a consultation with our dentists. You can also call us at (623) 935-1155 or book your appointment online.