5 Dental Habits to Break this Year! - Hardy Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics

5 Dental Habits to Break this Year!

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biting nails

When it comes to your oral health, there are always areas for improvement. Many people have dental habits that are hurting their oral health. Some have damaging dental habits because they don’t know how to properly take care of their teeth or they don’t know the importance. Bad dental habits can result in tooth decay, tooth loss, gum problems and even broken teeth. Start the new year out right by making goals to improve your oral health. We have 5 dental habits that you can break this year to have a healthier mouth.


The Importance of Your Oral Health

How well you take care of your teeth is an indication of how well you take care of the rest of your health. The mouth is the window to the rest of your body. This is largely because you need to fuel your body every single day in order for it to function. You get that fuel through food and drink. What you eat matters to the health of your body and to your teeth as well. If you choose to eat foods that are low in nutrients and high in sugar, you are bound to have many health problems. You are almost guaranteeing yourself oral health problems as well. The higher your sugar intake, the higher your risk for tooth decay and gum disease. This is because the more sugar you eat, the more that sugar can interact with the bacteria in your mouth to create plaque. Plaque is the root cause of tooth decay and gum disease, which are some of the most prevalent oral health problems there are.


It’s vitally important that you take care of your oral health through proper dental habits. These include brushing and flossing your teeth. We don’t mean every once in awhile either. We mean brushing and flossing your teeth several times a day! The American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing at least once. These dental habits can largely reduce or eliminate your risk for many oral health problems. Keeping your teeth clean is a major part of keeping your oral health in check. However, you can also break, chip, crack and weaken your teeth through other dental habits.


5 Dental Habits to Break

Your teeth are some of the hardest parts of your body. However, even the strongest things can become weak with the wrong habits. Here are 5 common dental habits to eliminate from your life this year:

  1. Nail Biting. Many people struggle with nail-biting, especially if they have anxiety. Nail biting will not only reduce your nails to stubs, but will damage your teeth as well. You can actually chip a tooth this way and cause jaw dysfunction because your mouth is always at a protruding position when you bite your nails. Use bitter-tasting nail polishes or stress reduction techniques instead of biting your nails.
  2. Chewing on ice. Although ice is just hardened water, it can very easily break, chip, or crack a tooth, which can lead to you losing a tooth. Suck on ice instead.
  3. Using your teeth as tools (to open things). This is one way to get a dental emergency, as you could scrape or tear your gum, lip or cheek. You can also chip a tooth or break one depending on what you’re opening. Avoid doing this and use scissors or other tools instead.
  4. Constant snacking. Snacking is usually associated with high-sugar foods. This increases your risk for tooth decay. Skip the sweets and choose something full of protein instead.
  5. Brushing too hard. The ADA recommends brushing for about a minute on your top teeth and a minute on your bottom teeth with a soft-bristled brush. Too much brushing or brushing too hard can wear away your tooth enamel.

biting a pencil

Tooth Decay and Gum Disease

Did you know that millions of people don’t visit their dentist? Dental visits are vital for the health of your teeth. Our most fundamental dental services include comprehensive examinations and dental cleanings. Both of these could help improve your oral health and prevent you from diseases such as tooth decay and gum disease. Millions of people don’t visit the dentist each year, which is why millions have tooth decay and gum disease. The National Institutes of Health report that tooth decay (known as “cavities” or “dental caries”) is the most prevalent chronic disease among U.S adults and children. That’s despite the fact that tooth decay is 100% preventable!


Gum disease is bad as well. Around 64.7 million (yes we said “million”) U.S. adults have gum disease. Gum disease is caused by plaque, just like tooth decay is. When plaque sits on your teeth, it irritates your gums, causing them to be red, inflamed and to bleed easily. Over time, your gums will begin to recede and in its worst stages, your teeth will begin to fall out. You can prevent these problems by brushing and flossing your teeth. Not visiting the dentist and not brushing and flossing your teeth are some of the worst dental habits you can have. It is a sure way to guarantee that you will have oral health problems.


Improve Your Oral Health In-Office

A comprehensive exam is a time where a trained, professional dentist can observe the health of your teeth for problems. These exams and cleanings are essential to keeping a healthy mouth no matter your age! Receiving dental services are also a time to educate your child about the importance of their dental health. Dental habits generally start when young and those dental habits will continue through the teen and adult years. We want to make sure those dental habits are good ones that will help keep your child’s smile healthy all their life. If your child needs to come in for their exam or cleaning, call Hardy Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics today at (720) 887-6003!