Even when you practice good oral health care by brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and regularly visiting your dentist, you may still be engaging in at least one habit that may cause serious injuries to your teeth. Bad habits are easy to develop and, unfortunately, are often difficult to break. What many people don't realize is that there are some common habits that you may think are harmless, but they can actually have a significant impact on your smile. Tooth enamel is the strongest substance in your body, but each time you use your teeth for anything other than eating, you may be causing damage to your teeth. Here are some of the most common habits people engage in that may result in unexpected cosmetic dentistry visits.
Biting Your Fingernails
Regardless of how clean you keep your hands, there are always harmful bacteria hiding under your fingernails. Not only does biting your fingernails increase your risk of consuming harmful bacteria, but it may also cause cracking and chipping of your teeth. The pressure that is applied when you are biting your fingernails may loosen teeth and the hardness of your fingernails may cause cracking in your teeth. When the bacteria under your fingernails find their way into your mouth, it can lead to infection of your mouth and gums as well as cause other serious health problems.
Chewing on Ice
It is common to chew on ice simply as a habit after finishing your beverage in an ice-filled glass. Ice is simply frozen water, so it is sugarless and natural, but it can interfere with your ability to have a healthy smile. Chewing on ice can create small cracks in your tooth enamel. Eventually these small cracks may widen and have a serious effect on your oral health later in life. Not only can chewing on ice cause cracks in your teeth, but it may also cause damage to fillings, braces, and crowns.
Chewing on Pens or Pencils
Chewing on pens and pencils is one of the most common habits many people have. People often develop this habit during childhood and most don't even realize they are doing it. Biting on pens and pencils can crack and chip teeth, which can lead to tooth erosion and possibly even tooth loss if the damage is severe. Chewing on sugar-free gum may help you break this damaging habit and it will help increase the production of saliva, which removes cavity causing bacteria.
Using Teeth as Tools
Using your teeth as pliers, bottle openers, or scissors is a sure way to cause damage to your teeth and/or gums. Each time your teeth are used to open a package, break something apart or open a bottle, you are increasing the risk of causing serious damage to the enamel as well as the root of your teeth. Using your teeth as tools can traumatize them and cause the edge of your tooth to chip or even fracture. It is important that you resist the urge to use your teeth for anything other than eating. Pliers, scissors, and bottle openers are rather inexpensive tools, but you only get one set of permanent teeth.
If you think you have cracked a tooth while chewing on a foreign object, it is important to contact a dentist as soon as possible. The longer you delay treatment, the worse the injury can become, possibly leading to tooth loss or extraction. It is also important to schedule routine examinations to make sure your teeth and oral health are in top shape. For more information, contact companies like The Family Dentist.