Your teeth are built to take a serious amount of pressure and to protect them, your teeth are coated in a super-strong substance called enamel. The enamel on your teeth also protects them from decay, infection, and cavities. However, there are some things that your teeth are just not built to handle… Here are 5 terrible habits that can cause problems for your teeth and may even result in you needing to visit your dentist!
1. Drinking soft drinks
One of the primary causes of tooth decay is drinking the fizzy stuff (both sugar and sugar-free varieties). Not only do the drinks contain acid that wears away the enamel, but they also wash your teeth in sugar. The bacteria in your mouth feast on the sugar and secrete a powerful acid as a waste product. The acid then eats through your enamel, which causes cavities. If you drink soft drinks, it’s a good idea to switch to a different drink, such as water or even milk. If you or your children do have an occasional soft drink, rinsing your mouth out with water afterwards may help to reduce the risk of the acid and sugar damaging your smile.
2. Using teeth as openers
Using your teeth as bottle openers, scissors or pliers is a surefire way to damage them. Each time you use your teeth to tear open a packet of crisps, open a bottle or break something apart, you are increasing the risk of seriously damaging the enamel and root of your teeth. These habits cause teeth to crack and weaken, which may eventually lead to tooth loss or gum damage. Use your teeth for eating, not for opening!
3. Vigorous brushing
We would never want to discourage the brushing of teeth, but one of the more common problems that people are shocked to learn about is brushing too hard. It’s best to use light pressure instead of pressing the brush into your teeth as this can slowly wear away the enamel and leave your teeth vulnerable to cavities.
4. Clenching your jaw or grinding teeth
Also called bruxism, clenching and/or grinding your teeth puts huge amounts of pressure on your teeth. This can lead to cracks and chips in your teeth, cause gum recession and even intermittent headaches, migraines and jaw pain. You might not even be aware of doing this if you clench or grind your teeth at night. Your dentist will be able to prescribe a splint such as the F.O.S. device, worn at night to protect your teeth from the affects of clenching and grinding.
5. Biting fingernails
Not only does biting your fingernails increase the risk of you consuming a wide variety of harmful bacteria, but it also can cause chipping and cracking of teeth. The pressure applied when biting fingernails may loosen teeth and the hardness of your fingernail can cause cracking in teeth. Under your fingernails are hundreds of bacteria that can make a home in your mouth, leading to an infection in your mouth and gums. It could potentially cause other problems with your physical health, too.
If you suspect you have damaged your teeth or gums, make an appointment with your dentist to discuss strategies to reduce the chances of further damage.