Everyone has good and bad habits when it comes to their own oral habits but here are five oral habits that really make your general dentist cringe.
Bad oral habits a general dentist hates
Flossing is one of the biggest habits we should have but often do not, and a general dentist can see by the way our gums react to a cleaning. Teeth should be flossed at least once a day, preferably alongside each cleaning. Otherwise, food particles and bacteria can hide between the gaps of the teeth and in the gums and become infected leading to worsening problems of gum disease.
Tobacco not only causes a slew of respiratory problems but it will also negatively affect the teeth. It is still a common habit among people despite education and warnings. Cigarettes discolor the teeth, cause bad breath and lead to many oral cancers and diseases. It can decrease your sense of taste and is a known cause of gum diseases. Though smoking is a difficult habit to break, it is not impossible and your mouth will thank you in the long run.
Brushing too hard
Too much of a good thing can be a bad thing and this is true particularly for brushing. Hard bristled toothbrushes or even the act of brushing too hard breaks down tooth enamel and irritates the gums. This leaves the mouth open to cavities without the enamel protection and the irritated gums recede and cause sensitivity and tooth decay.
It is a habit that can be changed by changing your brushing regime and using toothbrushes with soft bristles instead of hard ones. You want to be massaging your teeth, not scrubbing them.
Grinding your teeth
Stress or sleep habits mean you could be unconsciously grinding and clenching your teeth without even knowing it. The grinding and clenching wear down the teeth causing chips and cracks. This can not only be painful but it can also lead to infections of the tooth. The muscles and joints of the jaw are also sore and pained by this habit.
Finding ways to relax, such as yoga or mindfulness exercises, can help with the stressful grinding. If not, your dentist can prescribe you a nighttime guard to protect the teeth in the long run.
Teeth as tools
You may use your teeth to open bags or hold items when your hands are full but this habit is not as harmless as you would think. Using your teeth as a tool instead of for their actual purpose increases the risk of chips and cracks in the teeth. You put yourself at risk of swallowing items you should not or introducing harmful bacteria every time you put an item in your mouth that is not food. It is an easy habit that can be stopped and instead swapped out for scissors or other actual tools.
If you are interested in the cessation of any of these habits be sure to discuss with your general dentist ways they can assist or educate you. Your oral health is important and so is building up good habits around their care and changing the habits that can harm it.
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