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Oral Habits and Dental Damage

By: Garry Crystal - Updated: 24 Nov 2010 | comments*Discuss
Oral Habits Dental Dentist Smoking

Smoking and grinding teeth are two bad oral habits that can lead to dental damage. We have been taught since a young age to take care of our teeth but bad oral habits can have a way creeping up on us without notice.

Smoking and Dental Damage

Smoking is one of the worst oral habits that can cause lasting damage to both general health and teeth. There is a huge range of health problems associated with smoking and dental damage. Staining, discolouration and bad breath are the most common problems caused by smoking. Other dental problems that can occur will include gum disease, tooth loss and the life threatening oral cancer. Smoking is extremely addictive and is an incredibly hard habit to kick, but once given up your teeth and gums will show signs of improvement within a year.

Grinding Teeth

Grinding your teeth is another major cause of dental damage. Many people are not even aware that they have this problem as it can occur during sleep. Bruxism is the clinical term for grinding teeth and it can wear down the enamel on teeth. If this habit continues it could lead to sensitive or even cracked teeth and injured jaw joints. If someone has made you aware of your teeth grinding then you should contact a dentist. Mouth guards can be provided that will protect the teeth during the hours of sleep.

Using Teeth as Scissors

A big no-no when it comes to keeping a full set of healthy teeth is to use your teeth to open things with. Many people use their teeth to bite labels off clothes, cut string with and even remove the caps off beer bottles. This bad habit can loosen fillings, crack or break teeth and even knock fragile teeth out of the gum. Never use your teeth for anything that will place unnecessary stress on them, even if there is not a beer bottle opener handy.

Chewing Habits

Yes teeth are designed for chewing, but that means food not pencils. People can become habitual chewers of anything they can get their hands on, especially when nervous. Pencils, pens, finger-nails and even remote controls can become adult pacifiers without the chewer actually realising it. This bad oral habit can lead to the enamel on teeth wearing down and can also lead to cracked and sensitive teeth. If you need to chew something then stick to gum, and make sure it’s sugar free gum.

Skipping the Dental Routine

Many people will not follow the twice a day brush and floss routine. The common thinking is that once a day is more than enough when it comes to brushing and flossing. Missing out on the nightly brushing routine even once can lead to plaque building up and decay setting in. Brushing teeth for at least five minutes, twice a day is essential if you want to have a set of healthy teeth that will last a lifetime.

Avoiding the Dentist

Many people skip their dental check-ups through fear of the dentist. Another excuse is that there is simply not enough time to fit the check-up into a busy schedule. Dental check-ups are necessary in order to catch problems such as tooth decay and gum disease at an early stage. Bi-annual visits are recommended and should be enough to catch these sorts of dental problems before they become serious. You may save time by skipping the dental check-up but it could lead to a lot more time being spent on costly dental treatments in the future.

Breaking bad oral habits may take some willpower and discipline but it could save you a lot of money in dental treatments and save time in the dental chair. Dentists will be able to give advice and provide solutions to those that suffer from these bad oral habits. Children are especially susceptible to these habits and they should be taught of the dangers at as early an age as possible.

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