4890 E Bonanza Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89110 702.649.6859


Bad Habits That Can Damage Oral Health

Good oral health consists of brushing your teeth at least twice a day, flossing regularly, and visiting your dentist every six months for a cleaning and checkup. Unfortunately, some people develop bad habits that can damage not only their oral health but also their smile. Here are a few habits that can affect our oral health. 

  • Teeth grinding

Bruxism is a condition in which patients grind their teeth at night. Grinding your teeth can lead to serious complications such as chips and cracks in your teeth, joint and jaw pain, headaches, and more. If you tend to grind your teeth during the night, there are several things you can try to prevent or lessen the effects. A mouthguard may be helpful in keeping your teeth from touching while you sleep. You can also try to reduce stress and anxiety in your life, as this can slow down your respiration and cause you unconsciously to grind your teeth.

  • Nail biting

For some people, biting their nails is an irresistible urge — much like touching or picking your nose. While it's common and harmless for most people, excessive nail biting can damage your smile. The condition, if left untreated, can cause chips, fractures, and even infections. Repeated nail biting can eventually cause the front teeth to become worn down or damaged because the force from biting causes the teeth to flex back and forth. This motion can result in chipping or cracking of the enamel. It can also loosen a tooth and eventually lead to tooth loss. 

  • Using teeth as tools

Using your teeth to open packages or bottles can severely damage them. Chipping and cracking can occur when too much pressure is placed on the front teeth. This can lead to the need for restorative dentistry, like dental crowns, to repair damaged teeth. Over-the-counter products like night guards may also be recommended to protect and prevent further chipping and cracking.

  • Brushing too hard

Dentists recommend that patients brush their teeth for at least two minutes at a time. If this is too difficult to remember, try using a toothbrush with a built-in timer, or put a timer in your bathroom to help keep track of the time you are spending brushing your teeth. Aggressively brushing your teeth can wear down the enamel that protects them from decay. It can also increase your sensitivity to pain. So, set the bristles of your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle and use a gentle circular motion while scrubbing your teeth.

  • Chewing ice

Chewing on ice can be bad for the teeth because it has the potential to chip a tooth or even crack it into pieces. It also increases the risk of cavities because chewing on hard foods can cause the enamel to erode over time. Try drinking water when you're craving a cold beverage instead of chewing on ice. If it's impossible to avoid chewing on ice, try to chew on the side of your mouth that doesn't have your top row of teeth.

  • Smoking

Although most people know that smoking can negatively affect your overall health, did you know that it can also cause severe damage to your oral health? In fact, according to studies, smokers are about twice as likely to suffer from gum disease. This is because cigarettes contain chemicals that irritate the gums and cause them to recede. Additionally, they also contain nicotine, which reduces the flow of blood to the gum tissues. Smokers are also more likely to have tooth discoloration since smoke contains tar and other chemicals that can stain the teeth. Furthermore, oral cancer may also occur more frequently in people who smoke due to the dangerous oral effects of tobacco. For these reasons, it is important that patients take steps to quit smoking in order to improve their oral health and prevent serious dental issues. Patients may consider talking to their dentist about

  • Opening packages with your teeth

Have you ever broken a tooth because you tried to open a package with your teeth? People tend to use their teeth for things they are not meant for. A general rule of thumb is don't put anything in your mouth that you can't eat or drink. If you have to crack open a stubborn package, use your elbow or a pair of scissors to open the package safely. Save your teeth from the stress of trying to crack tough materials! Learn more about breaking a tooth here.

  • Playing sports without a mouth guard

For most people, playing sports is a fun way to exercise and get outside with friends. For others, it's a way to relax or blow off steam after a long day at work. As your dentist, we recommend wearing a mouth guard for any type of sport that poses the risk of injury to your teeth or gums. With a custom-made mouth guard from the dentist's office, you can prevent a number of injuries to your teeth and gums. These guards fit comfortably over your upper teeth and are crafted to fit your unique smile.

To have a consultation with Dr. Lewis, please call our office at (702) 649-6859 or schedule an online consultation, and we’ll guide you further.

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