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Are You Being Your Teeth's Worst Enemy? Habits That Can Damage Your Teeth

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Even if you visit your dentist regularly and brush your teeth several times a day, you may still be doing damage to your teeth and gums without even realizing it. Although some things you do can cause immediate physical damage, like cracking or breaking teeth, other things are more subtle, causing extensive damage over time instead of all at once. Here's a look at some habits and dietary choices that can be hazardous to your teeth.

Tooth-Destructive Habits

Sometimes, your behaviors can be damaging to your teeth. While these things may seem minor, the damage that they can do is certainly far from it. Here are a few bad habits you should kick to the curb right away.

Using Your Teeth As A Tool

Whether you're biting packages open or holding your pen between your teeth, both of these things can be damaging to your mouth. Sometimes, biting down on something that isn't meant to be eaten will actually break your tooth or shift the alignment of your bite.

The foods that you eat naturally give way to the pressure of your jaw. Other objects, such as product packaging and eyeglasses, won't. You may inadvertently apply more pressure than your jaw is meant to simply because the item you're biting will hold up to it, even though your teeth can't. The best rule of thumb for this is to avoid putting anything in your mouth that you can't eat.

Childhood Thumb-Sucking

Many infants and young toddlers suck on pacifiers or thumbs. Pacifiers are easy to eliminate, but thumb-sucking is a much harder habit to break. Despite the self-soothing benefits, if you were still sucking your thumb and fingers after permanent teeth started to appear, you could have done some damage to your teeth.

Thumb sucking can actually alter your jaw structure and change tooth alignment. This can lead to many long-term issues, including problems chewing and sometimes breathing issues as well. You can talk to your dentist about ways to correct issues caused by thumb-sucking.

Nail Biting

Biting your nails can pose a variety of health concerns, including exposure to germs that can settle beneath your nails. The germ exposure is only one concern, though. Your nails can be a destructive force when it comes to your teeth.

For example, your fingernails can cause damage to your tooth enamel, which may actually lead to cracks and other damage in your tooth. Additionally, frequent nail biting can actually shift your teeth out of position, which can alter your jaw line.

Damaging Oral Care Practices

When your own efforts to care for your teeth cause more damage, you're likely to be chasing the negative effects for some time. Here are some things you may do to care for your teeth that can actually cause more harm.

Brushing Too Hard

Frequent brushing is good for your teeth, because it combats plaque and other problems. But, if you are brushing too hard or with a brush that's too stiff, you're likely to do more damage than good. Brushing too hard will lead to damaged or worn enamel, irritated and wounded gums, and even sensitivity to temperature. Opt for a medium-bristle brush and don't push too hard.

Toothpick Damage

Toothpicks can actually be a great tool for keeping food particles out from between your teeth in between brushing. If you aren't careful with them, though, you can actually damage your gums and your teeth. Be gentle with the toothpicks, and avoid poking them directly into gum tissue.

When it comes to oral health care, sometimes the damaging things can be subtle and elusive. With the tips presented here, you can identify and combat some of the more damaging things that you may be doing without even knowing it. You can learn more by contacting a dentist in your area.