Smile Danger: 5 Everyday Habits That Can Damage Your Teeth

Bad habits are easy to develop but, unfortunately, are difficult to break. What some people don't realize is that there are certain common habits that you appear harmless but actually have a significant impact on your smile. Here are five common habits that can damage your teeth, gums and/or mouth.

Chewing on Ice

It is common to chew on ice to quench thirst, relieve stress or even simply as a habit after finishing your beverage in an ice-filled glass. Ice is simply frozen water, so it is natural and sugarless, yet it can interfere with you having a healthy smile.

Chewing on ice may create small cracks in tooth enamel. Overtime, these small cracks may widen and affect your oral health later in life. Not only can chewing on ice cause cracks, but it can also cause serious damage to braces, fillings and crowns.

Drinking Soda

Soda is one of the leading causes of tooth decay throughout the western world. The acids in soft drinks soften the tooth enamel, which leads to dental cavities. Drinking just one soda a day can cause significant damage to teeth in both adults and children.

It is recommended that you substitute soft drinks with milk or water. 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.

Chewing on Pencils

One of the most common habits among many people is chewing on pencils and pens. Many people develop this habit early in childhood, and some do not even realize they are doing it.

Biting on pencils and pens can chip and crack teeth, which can lead to cavities and possible tooth loss if the damage is severe. Carrying sugar-free gum to chew on may help you break this tooth-damaging habit and it will help increase the saliva production, which removes cavity causing bacteria.

Using Teeth as Openers

Using your teeth as bottle openers, scissors or pliers is a sure way to damage them. Each time you use your teeth to tear open a package, 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. Keep tools handy to avoid using your teeth as tools.

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.

Along with the above habits, there are several more, such as not wearing a mouth guard and teeth grinding, which can cause significant damage to teeth and gums. It is important to schedule routine examinations with your dentist to make sure your teeth and oral health are in top shape.

If you suspect you have damaged your teeth or gums, contact Great Lakes Dental Arts for a full dental examination. We can also help with suggestions for replacing unhealthy dental habits with more healthy alternatives.