Try these tips on breaking bad habits instead of your teeth
It’s the new year and perfect time to brush away some bad habits ~ especially those that can harm your teeth and wreak havoc on a winning smile. Here are just some of the common ways we damage our teeth and tips to overcome them.
- Nail Biting:
It’s not something everyone does nor taste good. But this nervous habit can do more than chip teeth. Placing pressure in a protruding position for sustained periods of time can cause jaw dysfunction. Solution: Start by recognizing some of the triggers that cause nail biting and try to keep your hands and fingers busy. Other ideas include bitter-tasting nail polish and stress reduction toys or tools.
- Brushing Too Hard:
We all know the mantra – brush teeth for two minutes twice a day. However, brushing forcefully or with a hard toothbrush can often do more harm than good, including damaging both teeth and gums. Solution: A first step is to use an ADA-approved soft toothbrush and the motion should be more akin to a massage than scrubbing the bathroom floor.
- Grinding and Clenching:
This habit is one that is sometimes so subconscious that we don’t realize we are doing it. Especially when it takes place while sleeping. This can result in chipped or cracked teeth but also sore muscles and joints. Solution: Relaxation is key and yes, easier said than done. In such cases, certain exercises can help. If this occurs primarily when asleep, a mouth guard may be needed overnight.
- Chewing Ice Cubes:
Imagine two crystals pressed against one another. That’s the same as tooth enamel and ice – both are crystals. While more often teeth win, chewing on ice can cause a tooth or filling to break. Solution: There are a couple ways to curb this habit, including drinking cold beverages without ice or use a straw.
- Constant Snacking:
Who can resist noshing throughout the day but sugary foods and drinks can really put your teeth at risk for cavities. The on-going presence of bacteria produces acid and damages a tooth’s outer shell. Solution: Step one is to eat well balanced meals. This helps you feel fuller, longer. Yet snacking is far too tempting so choose something low in fat and sugar. When your sweet tooth does takeover, have a big glass of water to wash away leftover bacteria.
- Using Teeth As Tools:
The only job teeth should be used for is eating. They are not a vice when hands are full nor scissors to tear a plastic bag. Such actions can cause cracked teeth, injured jaws and accidental swallowing. Solution: Take a moment to find someone or something else to help with the job at hand.
So, start the year of right and break those bad habits and not your teeth. If questions or conditions arise, contact any member of the Amsterdam Dental staff or any dental professional.