Most of us do not know that we are actually doing harm to our oral health. Habits like nail biting, smoking, teeth grinding, using teeth as tools, and not visiting the dentist regularly can seriously damage our oral health. Here is how these habits can affect our oral health.
Chewing fingernails is a bad habit that can damage your teeth over time. Some people bite their nails when they’re nervous or stressed; others might chew on their nails out of boredom. Either way, it’s not good for your mouth and can lead to tooth damage.
When nails are chewed frequently, they can cause the teeth to become worn down and eventually chip or crack. They can also start to look uneven as the enamel softens and thins. The gums can also become swollen and red from irritation from the rough surface of the fingernail. Over time, the gum line can recede, which exposes the roots of the teeth and makes tooth decay more likely.
People who bite their nails also have a greater chance of developing TMJ disorder because the habit puts pressure on certain parts of the jaw. This can lead to severe headaches and jaw pain. Vulnerable to infection, the long-term damage of chewing on your nails is reason enough to quit this bad habit for good. If you suffer from anxiety that causes you to chew on your fingernails, talk to your dentist about other ways to manage stress.
Most smokers are aware of all the risks associated with smoking cigarettes, but they continue to do it anyway. While the most obvious health risks are lung and throat cancer, there are other problems you might not be thinking of. For instance, your teeth can be affected by smoking too.
Smoking can result in tooth discoloration. Like other tobacco products, cigarettes contain tar that can wear down your enamel and make your teeth look stained and yellowed. In extreme cases, you may even see black spots on your teeth.
Research shows that smokeless tobacco can also cause oral cancer. It’s especially dangerous for people who use chewing tobacco or snuff. Even those who don’t use these products themselves should still stay away from them because secondhand smoke can cause oral cancer as well.
Another problem with smoking is that it increases plaque buildup in your mouth. If you continue to smoke and have poor oral hygiene habits, you can develop gum disease and lose some of your teeth. On top of that, smoking has other effects like dry mouth, bad breath, sinus issues, and more. Speaking to your doctor about quitting smoking is a good idea.
If you brush your teeth too strongly or with too much pressure, you’re putting yourself at risk for serious oral health complications like tooth sensitivity, enamel erosion, and receding gums. You’re also at an increased risk of developing gum disease, which has been linked to heart disease, diabetes, and other health woes. If you’re guilty of brushing your teeth too vigorously, try easing up on your brushing habits by using a soft-bristled toothbrush and setting a timer to show you how you’re doing. Set your timer for two minutes, and try brushing your teeth gently for the full two minutes.
When patients grind their teeth at night, it can cause damage to both their oral and overall health. Patients who experience nighttime bruxism often wake up with a sore jaw and a headache because they unconsciously grind their teeth all night long. This can cause wear on the teeth and damage to the enamel, which can lead to tooth loss over time because the teeth become shorter and more worn down. Patients who grind their teeth are also at risk of developing temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD), which is a condition that causes sudden pain in the face, difficulty chewing, and other facial problems.
Patients who suffer from bruxism should seek help from a dentist or orthodontist who can create a custom nightguard to wear while sleeping. The mouth guard helps to protect the teeth from clenching and grinding so the teeth can be protected and restored back to their normal shape. A custom nightguard for bruxism can help protect your teeth against damage and relieve any pressure you feel in your jaw while you sleep.
Not visiting the dentist regularly for checkups and teeth cleaning can have some serious consequences for your oral health. For one, if you are experiencing any problems at all with your teeth, then you will have to visit a dentist to get treatment for them. Leaving these issues untreated can be very dangerous to your health as they can lead to tooth loss or even more painful conditions like oral cancer. Also, regular cleanings can help to prevent issues such as tooth decay and gum disease. Gum disease can also be a sign that there is something wrong with the rest of your body, so it is important that it gets diagnosed and treated as soon as possible.
To learn more, please call us at (623) 934-7606 and reach out to our dental practice at 8256 W. Cactus Road, Suite #136, Peoria, AZ 85381. We'll be happy to guide you further.