8 Bad Habits That Can Harm Your Oral Health
Every part of the body is important, but when it comes to nourishment, the mouth is where it all begins.
As the only passageway for the intake of food and drinks, you’ll have to make sure that your mouth and every part of it stays healthy. And the best way to do this is to maintain good oral hygiene.
Aside from brushing regularly, using the correct oral care products, and implementing other oral hygiene best practices, you also need to know what you should not be doing. Avoiding mistakes takes up 50 percent of proper oral care, so be sure to avoid these eight bad habits:
1. Nail biting
Did you know that biting your nails habitually can lead to more than just uneven nails? This nervous habit could also lead to chips in your teeth. If done longer and more frequently, this can also impact your jaw.
Putting your jaw in a protruding position for extended periods puts pressure on it and may lead to jaw dysfunction. The pressure from the movement may also cause the jawbone to reabsorb the teeth’ roots as you chew on your nails. This can cause them to weaken and increase your risk of tooth loss.
To remedy this, you can try applying bitter-tasting nail polish on your nails, undergoing stress-relieving remedies (e.g., aromatherapy, massages, and yoga), and setting realistic goals to avoid stress. You can also keep your fingers busy by holding on to something whenever certain situations trigger this habit.
2. Not brushing regularly and correctly
This should go without saying, but brushing regularly and correctly is imperative for oral health. If you skip or perform the task incorrectly, you may not only end up with bad breath and increase the chances of losing your teeth.
Eating or drinking causes naturally occurring bacteria in the mouth to react to food debris and cause plaque. This thin film that covers the tooth erodes the enamel that eventually leads to decay. That is, of course, unless the debris is removed through brushing within two hours after eating.
So, make it a habit to brush at least twice a day. And do it for all your teeth – not just the ones you see in the mirror. Don’t forget to brush your tongue, too.
3. Consuming too many sugary foods and beverages
Who doesn’t like juices, sodas, and fizzy drinks? Of course, you should mind every sip you take within the day, as consuming too much can lead to tooth decay and other dental issues.
These beverages contain loads of sugar, which serve as food to acid-producing bacteria. Once there are too many of these acids in the mouth, the tooth enamel begins to weaken. When this outermost layer of the teeth corrodes, cavities form in the teeth.
Sugary foods like candies, gummies, cakes, and the like also have the same effect.
To prevent your teeth from caving in from too many sugary treats and drinks, keep your consumption in check. It also helps to eat candy with meals rather than as snacks. This way, your mouth produces more saliva that could help rinse away the sugar residue.
For drinks, stick to water and unsweetened juices. Although natural fruit juices still have sugar, they contain far less and come from natural sources. Of course, brushing after you eat is still the best way to ensure that your teeth stay cavity-free.
4. Brushing too hard
The teeth aren’t the only things you need to be careful of when it comes to oral health. You also need to take care of your gums.
While brushing for two minutes is a good practice, you must make sure you don’t overdo it. Brushing too vigorously with a hard-bristled toothbrush can damage the teeth and may even irritate the gums.
It’s well and good to clean your teeth thoroughly, but you must be gentler when it comes to your gums. Besides replacing your toothbrush with a soft-bristled alternative, you should still avoid brushing too hard. Avoid applying too much pressure; else, you run the risk of your gums bleeding.
Here’s a great tip: Instead of scrubbing your teeth, use your brush to massage them gently.
5. Skipping the gum line
Just because you were warned not to brush too hard to avoid gum bleeding doesn’t mean you should forget about brushing along the gum lines. This is as bad a habit as the others on this list, and you’ll learn why shortly.
As the exposed area where the teeth and gums meet, the gum line is a spot prone to bacterial accumulation. Failing to clean this part of the mouth thoroughly can lead to inflammation and several oral diseases.
Make sure to brush one to three millimeters just under the gum tissue. Experts recommended brushing at a 45-degree angle and using up-down strokes gently. Soft-bristled and flexible brushes are the best tools for this as they bend to reach tough spots without harming the gums.
6. Teeth grinding and clenching
Teeth grinding and clenching can lead to cracked or chipped teeth. It can also result in joint pain and tenderness of the jaw muscles. This habit may also lead to pain when chewing or difficulty opening your mouth wide.
Staying aware and performing relaxation exercises can help you get rid of this nasty habit. You may also opt to use a mouthguard when you sleep to protect your choppers.
7. Not replacing your toothbrush regularly
Dental products like toothbrushes only do their job perfectly when used as recommended. Besides applying the right method of brushing, this also entails replacing them regularly.
Toothbrushes are used to clean the teeth, which means they are constantly exposed to bacteria. Even when you rinse them thoroughly after every use, microorganisms may still stick to the bristles. They are invisible to the naked eye, so it would be best to replace your toothbrush regularly to ensure that you don’t reintroduce bacteria to your mouth.
8. Avoiding dental checkups
Dentists are your best friend when it comes to keeping your mouth healthy, so you shouldn’t avoid your appointments with them.
Only the dentist’s trained eye can spot early symptoms for many oral health issues like gum disease, tooth decay, and even cancer. This means you wouldn’t know if you have one or more of these ailments until they are already in the advanced stages if you don’t get your checkup.
Protect your oral health
The proper care of your teeth, tongue, gums, and everything else in the oral cavity lies in how well you understand and implement the best practices in dental care.
Besides this, it is also important to know what you shouldn’t do to avoid harming your oral health.