While at work, you find yourself chewing on your nails out of nervousness for your upcoming presentation. Once you’re finished, you step outside for a quick smoke and grab a candy bar to calm yourself down and feed your craving. These bad habits may have “helped” you through an anxious time at work, but do you know how bad they are for your oral health? A dentist in Wall Township explains which bad dental habits you should break if you want to keep your teeth and gums happy and healthy.
Throw Away the Tobacco: Smoking
From cigarettes to cigars, and everything in between, smoking and the use of tobacco products can not only wreak havoc on your lungs and the rest of your body, but it can also cause staining and discoloration on your teeth as well as bad breath. To prevent having to hide behind your hands while talking to someone or blending into the background for a photo, try researching support groups in your area or purchasing one of the many methods suggested for kicking the habit.
Let Your Nails Grow: Nail Biting
Nail-biting is probably one of the most common bad habits that people don’t even realize they’re doing. Too often, it is a mindless activity that suddenly has people saying, “What happened to my nails?” Chewing on inanimate objects such as your nails, pens, or pencils can lead to excessive wear and tear on your teeth. This thins the enamel of your teeth and can cause tooth sensitivity over time. One effective way to stop nail biting is to actually have a manicure, and if it’s not your nails that you chew on, opt for sugarless gum before reaching for that pen or pencil on your desk.
Give Your Teeth a Rest: Teeth Grinding
Just like chewing on inanimate objects can wear your teeth down, so can teeth grinding and clenching. Individuals who struggle with this condition are encouraged to talk to their dentist about a mouthguard that can be worn at night while sleeping. This prevents the teeth from coming into contact with one another and alleviates excessive wear and tear as well as chronic jaw pain that can lead to problems with the temporomandibular joints (TMJ).
Be Kind to Your Toothbrush: Hard Brushing
Your toothbrush is designed to brush away harmful bacteria and food particles; however, it’s not made to brush away the enamel your teeth or file them down. When brushing, it’s important to remember that all you need is a gentle touch. It doesn’t take much to effectively clean your teeth, but when you start to brush hard, you can actually damage your gums and teeth.
Cookies, Candy, and Juice: Sugar Intake
Admit it: you enjoy something sweet every now and then. That’s okay because you know how to eat it in moderation. Unfortunately, for children and adults with a major sweet tooth, anything with sugar in it can be extremely harmful to teeth and gums. The reason is that harmful bacteria can feed off the sugar left behind, burrowing into the enamel and creating holes, also known as cavities. When consuming something sweet, make sure to either rinse your mouth with water or, if possible, brush your teeth immediately after you finish.
It’s not always easy breaking a bad habit, but with a little bit of willpower and encouragement from your dental team and family, you can stop anything that is keeping you from having healthier teeth and gums. If you’re unsure how to go it, talk to your dentist about any suggested tips or tricks.
About the Practice
Dr. Edward J. Dooley, DMD, FICOI, attended the College of the Holy Cross for his undergraduate degree. He then went on to attend the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Dental Medicine to achieve his Doctor of Dental Medicine. Dr. Dooley is a veteran of the United States Navy, serving from 1982-1985. Providing comprehensive services, he and his team are prepared to help you and your family receive the dental care you need. To learn more, contact us via our website or by calling (732) 974-2288.