There are many factors that contribute to poor oral health, but some common bad habits can seriously damage your teeth. Maybe you find yourself biting your nails or gnawing on pencils while you work. Habits like these may seem trivial, but they have the potential to do a lot of harm to your teeth. Here at Michigan Oral Surgeons, we know how important your smile is, which is why we’ve compiled a list of habits to kick for a healthy and long-lasting smile.
Stop chewing pens and pencils. Most people don’t realize how much pressure they are putting on their teeth when they bite down on hard objects like plastic and metal. Consequences of pen biting can include shifting, cracking, and breaking of the teeth, which can impair your ability to chew and smile with confidence. Instead of chewing pens and risking the integrity of your smile, try chewing some sugar-free gum to keep your mouth occupied while you work. Or if you don’t like gum, try using pencil toppers or removable erasers to cover the ends of your pencils and remind you not to bite!
Stop biting your nails. Nail biting is often caused by stress or boredom, and most people don’t even notice when they start biting their nails. Nail biting may seem harmless, but it can cause your teeth to splinter, become misaligned, or even break off, which permanently damages your smile. It’s also bad for your nails and very unsanitary! To keep your mouth occupied and distract you from biting nails, try chewing sugar-free gum. You can also try wearing scented lotion or hand sanitizer—the scent will help you become more aware of how often you bring your hands to your face.
Stop using your teeth as tools. Most of us have probably used our teeth to rip a tag off clothes or open a plastic container. While it is sometimes more convenient to bite open that wrapper or box, teeth are not designed to withstand the amount of stress we put on them when using them as tools. Using your teeth to open things or bite down on hard objects can cause cracked and broken teeth, which can be painful and expensive. Taking the extra time to find a knife or a pair of scissors will be well worth it in the long run!
Stop crunching on ice. Chewing ice is one of the worst habits for your oral health. Chewing on ice can wear down tooth enamel, which in turn increases sensitivity to hot and cold foods. Ice crunching can also cause cracked and broken teeth—not worth the risk! People with fillings should be especially careful, because ice causes fillings to contract and become more fragile and prone to failure. Once again, chewing some sugar-free gum or a minted toothpick instead of ice is a much healthier option.
We understand that habits are hard to break, especially if you have been doing something for years, but your oral health will benefit greatly when you eliminate these habits from your regular routine. If you have lost or broken your teeth, either in connection with these habits or for other reasons, please feel free to contact our office about possible restorative solutions. We look forward to answering any questions you have and will gladly schedule a consultation for you with one of our experienced oral surgeons.