Chewing More Cautiously: Breaking Bad Dental Habits

Chewing More Cautiously: Breaking Bad Dental Habits

You use your teeth every day, so keeping them healthy and clean involves consistent care. Brushing twice per day for at least two minutes, flossing daily, and rinsing with mouthwash can help you keep bacteria at bay. However, your daily activities can also have a negative effect on your smile. At our Clear Lake dentist practice, Dr. Flanagan and our team work to help patients understand and correct their detrimental mannerisms to preserve their teeth and gums. In the following blog, we describe some of the most common bad dental habits and explain how you can break them for a brighter, more beautiful smile.

Crunching on Cubes

Especially during the balmy summer months, many people love to chew on ice cubes. These slivers of frozen water can provide a satisfying crunch and the cool hydration your body craves. However, this habit can be very hard on your teeth. As theColgate Oral and Dental Health Resource Center explains: “While blenders and ice crushers are perfect for crunching ice cubes, teeth are not.” The brittle, dense, sharp texture of ice cubes can put undue pressure on your teeth, leading to chips, cracks, or fractures. Since many of these are small, you may not realize you’ve damaged your tooth until it becomes decayed or infected. To indulge your cold snack craving, you might enjoy a frozen smoothie or sip on ice water instead.

Where There’s Smoke…

Using tobacco products impacts your overall health, raising your risk for respiratory conditions, heart disease, and various cancers. Smoking is particularly injurious to your oral health because the toxins in cigarettes pass directly through your mouth to your lungs. This bad habit limits your body’s ability to fight infection, allowing bacteria to colonize your teeth and gums. For this reason, smoking can lead to cavities, periodontal disease, halitosis (bad breath), and even oral cancer. Quitting smoking could help you enhance your general and dental wellbeing.

Mind the Grind

According to the Academy of General Dentistry, one in every three people suffers from bruxism, or teeth grinding. Habitually your upper and lower teeth together due to stress, an improper bite, or other issues can damage your chewing surfaces, potentially leading to sensitivity, fracture, or decay. Clear Lake dentist Dr. Flanagan can help you break this habit by creating a custom night guard to cover your teeth, as well as recommending appropriate stress reduction techniques and medications.

Tooth Tools

Many people use their teeth to open plastic bags, hold their keys, or unscrew bottles. While this might be convenient in the moment, this habit can lead to lasting dental damage. Using your teeth as tools can lead to breakage or cracking, causing discomfort or even requiring dental crowns to repair. Next time you go to use your teeth in this way, take an extra few seconds to complete your task without risking dental damage.

Hanging on to Old Toothbrushes

Your toothbrush won’t last forever—in fact, you should be going through three or four per year to maintain good dental hygiene. According to KnowYourTeeth, “not only are old toothbrushes ineffective, but they also harbor harmful bacteria that can cause infections. Toothbrushes should be changed every three to four months.” In addition, Academy of General Dentistry spokesperson Steven A. Ghareeb notes that you should upgrade your toothbrush after getting sick to avoid re-exposing yourself to any lingering germs.

Break Bad Habits and Implement Good Ones

Clear Lake dentist Dr. Flanagan can help you kick your bad dental habits while teaching you better ways to care for your smile. To find out more or schedule a consultation, contact our dental practice today.

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