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Good oral health habits are important for everyone. However, people who have habits that are damaging to their teeth and gums should be especially careful. Habits such as smoking, teeth grinding, chewing ice, nail-biting, or using teeth as tools can wear out tooth enamel or cause other damage to teeth and gums. Here is how certain bad habits can damage our oral health.

  • Smoking

Have you ever thought about what will happen to your mouth if you smoke? Smoking can cause gum disease. The toxins in cigarettes can make it harder for your gums to fight off infection. This can then result in inflammation or gingivitis. Gum disease can also increase your risk of tooth loss. Gum disease has also been linked to heart disease and other health issues. Smoking may also cause discoloration of your teeth. Nicotine and other chemicals present in cigarettes can stain the surface of their teeth. If you quit smoking, you can improve your overall health while also reducing tooth decay and oral infections.

  • Teeth Grinding

Teeth grinding, clinically referred to as bruxism, is a destructive habit that can cause permanent damage to your teeth. If you grind or clench your teeth during sleep, you risk chipping or cracking your tooth enamel and wearing down your dental work prematurely. This can result in the need for more extensive restorative treatment in the future. If you suffer from chronic teeth grinding and are tired of waking up with headaches and jaw pain, visit your dentist for a custom night guard to protect your teeth and alleviate your symptoms.

  • Chewing Ice

While some people may believe that chewing on a piece of ice can help make their teeth whiter and brighter, that’s actually not true at all! In fact, it’s one of the worst things people can do for the health of their smile.

When you chew ice, it can cause your teeth to chip or crack. This damage can lead to tooth sensitivity and pain or discomfort in your tooth overall, which can be distracting and even painful. Plus, a broken tooth can cause you to need more extensive dental treatment than a simple filling or crown. Additionally, chewing on ice can actually cause significant damage to your gums as well. So, quit the habit at the earliest.

  • Nail Biting

If you bite your nails, this can damage your teeth and gums in a number of ways. The habit causes your teeth to wear down more quickly and can cause chips and cracks in your teeth. This can lead to tooth decay over time. If you’re trying to break this habit, try keeping your hands occupied with a stress ball or putty instead.

  • Aggressive Brushing

People who brush too hard are causing damage to their teeth and gums. Don’t use a toothbrush with stiff bristles. Also, ensure that you brush your teeth in small, circular motions. If your gums hurt or bleed when you brush your teeth, you may be doing it wrong. Talk with us about proper technique at your next visit. Too much brushing can also cause receding gums, exposing the roots of the teeth. Receding gums cause tooth sensitivity because the root of the tooth is no longer protected by the enamel.

If you want to learn more about good oral care habits, visit the Covington Signature Dentistry office at 27121 174th Place SE, Suite 202, Covington, WA 98042, or call (253) 638-9955 to schedule an appointment.

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