nervous woman biting her nails

It is likely that you already know that taking great care of your teeth by brushing and flossing is necessary to maintain excellent oral health. However, many patients are surprised to hear that their oral health efforts are falling short as a result of other bad habits that are common troublemakers.

Avoid these eight bad habits that are damaging your teeth without you even realizing it.

Brushing Too Hard

Brushing your teeth twice a day for a full two minutes is a great start to excellent oral hygiene. However, brushing too vigorously can cause your teeth more harm than you might realize. Aggressive brushing can wear down your enamel, irritate your gums, make your teeth sensitive to cold or hot, and even cause cavities. Always use a soft-bristled toothbrush to clean your teeth to avoid unnecessary damage.

Thumb Sucking

Children who are still sucking their fingers or thumbs after their permanent teeth begin coming in could be causing permanent damage. These negative changes can affect tooth and jaw structure. Thumb sucking specifically can cause misalignment concerns that lead to a number of issues, including difficulty with chewing, speaking or breathing issues. If your child is a thumb or finger sucker, help to wean them off the habit before the age of five.

Clenching Your Jaw

Stress is the number one trigger of frequent clenching of the jaw. There is a severe amount of pressure on your teeth when your jaw is clenched together, and this can lead to fractures in your teeth. As a general rule, your teeth should never be touching unless you are using them to chew.

Grinding Your Teeth

Stress and sleeping habits are the most common causes of teeth grinding. This bad habit can quickly wear your teeth down over time. If you subconsciously grind your teeth at night while you sleep, investing in a nightguard will help to keep your teeth protected and reduce mouth pain associated with grinding your teeth.

Ice Crunching

The cold temperature, along with the hardness of ice cubes, can quickly lead to damaged teeth. This bad habit can lead to cracked or chipped teeth, and it can even irritate the soft tissue inside of your teeth. Reach for a piece of sugarless gum the next time you feel the urge to chew on ice.

Using Your Teeth as a Tool

Teeth are amazingly efficient at slicing and dicing food. That said, they were not made for opening packages. If you use your teeth as tools, you could suffer cracking or painful jaw injuries. Take a moment to find an alternative method and save your teeth for eating.

Nail Biting

Nail biting is one of the most common bad habits that people of all ages do. While it may seem like a harmless activity, biting your nails can quickly lead to damaged teeth. In the most severe cases, consistent nail biting can cause TMJ and issues with opening and closing your jaw correctly.

Constant Snacking

If you find yourself constantly snacking throughout the day, you may be subjecting your teeth to unnecessary sugars more than you realize. If you can’t break the snacking habit, stick to eating fresh fruits, vegetables, and nuts. Always rinse your teeth with water after snacking to reduce any left-behind food particles or sugar that cavity-causing bacteria love.

Healthy Habits To Live By

In addition to eating a balanced diet, ensure that you are drinking plenty of water throughout the day, and brushing and flossing your teeth for a full two minutes, twice a day. Regularly visiting your dentist twice a year for routine checkups and cleanings also help to keep your teeth and gums as healthy as possible.

If it has been longer than six months since your last cleaning and exam, call Dr. Aubrey Baudean DDS today to schedule your bi-annual appointment!