Skip To Content

Seven Bad Habits That Can Affect Our Oral Health

open bottle with teeth

Good oral health habits can help prevent tooth decay and gum disease. Practicing good oral hygiene is important for everyone, regardless of age. However, it is especially crucial for children. Here are a few bad habits to avoid if you want to maintain good oral health. 

Nail Biting

Nail bitters can develop infections in the soft tissues of their mouths, including their gums and cheeks, as well as on their fingernails. They may also be prone to jaw problems and even tooth damage. Over time, the habit can cause the teeth to shift out of place or grow abnormally. It can also cause more serious issues that involve joint problems and bone deterioration. If you notice yourself beginning to develop a bad habit with your nails, be sure to talk with your dentist immediately to find out how you can break your bad habit and protect your smile.

Using Teeth As Tools

Obviously, using your teeth as tools is never a good idea! While you may be tempted to use your teeth to cut tape or remove a loose cap from a bottle, it’s not worth the risk of damaging them or getting an infection. Use your scissors and bottle opener instead!

You should also be careful when using your teeth to eat things other than food. Don’t use your molars to chew ice or hard candy – you can chip or break a tooth that way. 

Chewing Ice Cubes

You might think that chewing ice is a harmless habit. However, did you know that it can cause cracks in your teeth and even lead to tooth loss? So, quit the habit of chewing ice cubes.

Frequent Snacking

It is fine to snack, but how often you eat and whether or not your snacks are healthy can be a problem. Snacks that are high in sugar or starch can stick to your teeth and increase your risk for tooth decay and cavities. Even healthy snacks like carrots and apples can lead to decay if eaten too frequently. So it is best to limit snacking between meals and try to eat healthy snacks. Your mouth will appreciate the break from the acid and sugars.

Thumb Sucking

Thumb sucking is a natural reflex in children, which can be helpful for babies and toddlers. It gives them comfort when they are nervous or upset. However, this habit can persist for too long. If a child continues to suck their thumb past the age of four, it can lead to a set of problems, including misaligned teeth, jaw pain, speech impediments, and tooth decay. The constant pressure on the gums can cause them to recede and lead to gum disease. If your child needs extra support to stop sucking their thumb, talk with your dentist about the different solutions available. 

Teeth Grinding

Most patients who grind their teeth at night are unaware they are doing it. It can be loud enough to wake a partner up, and it can be painful for the tooth grinder as well. 

You may also clench your jaw throughout the day without realizing it. Clenching your jaw puts pressure on teeth and may damage the temporomandibular joint, leading to TMJ disorder. This can also cause headaches. If you suffer from chronic headaches, ask your dentist whether there could be another cause for this besides stress. Chronic clenching and grinding can also lead to broken or damaged teeth, as pressure can be put on them all day long. If you know you are grinding your teeth, wear a night guard, which helps to prevent damage to the teeth.

Brushing Too Hard

When we brush our teeth, we typically want to do a good job of removing food particles and plaque to make our mouths clean and healthy. However, when we brush too hard, it can actually cause more harm than good. When you brush your teeth too vigorously, it can cause your gums to wear down over time, exposing more of your tooth’s root surface. 

Back To Top