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6 Bad Habits Harming Your Smile

Your smile says a lot about you, and first impressions matter. That’s why it’s important to make your oral health a priority. Most of you know that there are certain behaviors you should avoid if you want to maintain the health of your teeth. Eating sugary foods or drinking acidic beverages, forgetting to floss or ignoring a toothache are all things you’ve been told not to do in excess. But what about the habits that you believe to be harmless? Although there are several, we’ve narrowed down just 6 bad habits that are harming your smile.

Brushing too hard

It might seem logical that if you brush your teeth harder, they will get cleaner, but in truth, brushing too hard tends to do more harm than good. Too much pressure can damage your teeth and gums, which is why Central Florida Smiles recommends that you brush for a maximum of four minutes, two minutes on upper and 2 minutes on lower and add additional time for flossing. Brushing harder doesn’t make your teeth any healthier, but brushing/flossing the correct way will improve your oral hygiene.

Chewing ice

Chewing ice every once and a while is not going to cause serious issues, but if you’ve made it a habit — one that you engage in multiple times per day — then you are risking the durability of your teeth. Teeth are designed to withstand substantial pressure, but there is only so much that they can take. When you subject them to too much pressure from chewing ice, your teeth can begin to fracture, weaken and cause significant pain.

Fingernail biting and thumb sucking

Similar to chewing ice, biting your fingernails can apply too much stress to your front teeth, causing them to chip, crack, or break. The risk is even more pronounced in those who wear braces, as biting can affect the roots of the teeth as well.

Sucking your thumb should be stopped before kids actually start, not only will it cause problems while a child has deciduous teeth, but as your permanent teeth start to erupt, thumb sucking will interfere with proper growth patterns and create a poor bite position that leads to additional dental issues. Chewing pencils and pens You might chew on a pen or pencil when you are hard at work studying, and the habit can feel as if it is relieving the stress you feel, but in reality, biting a pen or pencil can create fractures in the tooth enamel over time and cause them to chip or break. If you are in braces you can knock your brackets off and distort your wires.

Teeth grinding at night

Because it happens while you are asleep, teeth grinding cannot always be avoided, but there are steps you can take to stop it from hurting your teeth. When left untreated, teeth grinding will place enough pressure on your teeth to wear down your tooth enamel, which will eventually cause your teeth to chip and crack. Most people can tell that they are grinding their teeth when they wake up in the morning and feel jaw pain. Your dentist or orthodontist can make you a special type of retainer to help stop the wear of your teeth.

Using teeth as tools

Many people are guilty of using their teeth to rip a piece of tape or open plastic packaging. Your teeth may seem like a convenient option when you don’t have a pair of scissors, but if you continue the habit, you may one day chip or crack a tooth. Your teeth have only one purpose: to help you digest the food you eat by chewing!

It’s never too late to stop engaging in bad habits and start promoting the health of your teeth. To schedule a dental examination with Central Florida Smiles, contact either our Longwood (407-862-1870) or Lake Mary (407-805-0068) offices and schedule an appointment today!