If you’re following an excellent oral health routine of brushing and flossing every day and seeing your dentist in Cedar Rapids twice a year but still find yourself getting cavities, having tooth sensitivity, or needing dental restorations to help fix damaged teeth, other things may be to blame. The truth is, there are habits that many people do every day that can harm teeth.
- Chewing Ice, Nails, and Other Things
Many people find comfort in chewing ice, biting their nails, or nibbling on other things such as pens or pencils. However, gnawing on these comfort items can cause some serious oral health problems. Chewing on ice, biting your nails, or gnawing on pens can lead to broken or chipped teeth that will need to be fixed by your dentist in Cedar Rapids. But these habits can also create tiny tooth fractures over time that you may not notice, until they turn into big cracks and potentially cause pain. Additionally, nail biting could also cause teeth to shift or place pressure on the jaw, causing pain.
- Opening or Holding Packages with Your Teeth
Teeth were designed for two reasons – to help us chew and to help us speak. They were not designed to open pesky packages or hold things that don’t fit into our hands. Using teeth for things other than what they’re meant to do could damage teeth. Some common problems associated with using teeth as tools are broken teeth, cracked teeth, broken restoration, or trauma to the soft tissues in the mouth.
- Using Too Much Force While Brushing
A common misconception is that you have to brush hard in order to really clean your teeth. However, the truth is, if you use too much force while brushing your teeth, you could actually cause harm. Brushing your teeth too hard could lead to an increased risk of decay, damage, and sensitivity. Always choose a toothbrush with soft bristles and gently move the brush over each tooth.
- Clenching or Grinding Your Teeth
Many people clench or grind their teeth in times of stress. This habit is often done subconsciously and we don’t even know we’re doing it. But there may be signs that you’re clenching or grinding your teeth, perhaps while you’re asleep. Consistent grinding or clenching can make teeth appear short and worn down. It can also cause tooth damage such as chips, breaks, or cracks. One of the most common signs of clenching or grinding is jaw pain, so make sure to mention any symptoms of TMJ to your dentist in Cedar Rapids.
- Smoking or Using Chewing Tobacco
Tobacco use not only affects overall health, it can also negatively affect oral health. On the surface, smoking cigarettes or cigars or using chewing tobacco can cause tooth discoloration. But the concerns go much deeper. Using any type of tobacco can increase the risk of tooth decay, gum disease, tooth loss, and oral cancer.
We will always encourage our patients to brush and floss every day to help keep their mouths healthy. We also encourage our patients to be honest with us about any habits that may affect oral health. Afterall, it will only help us provide better, more personalized care.