7 Habits That Affect Your Dental Health

There are tendencies and habits that affect our dental health. In this article, we'll tell you all about what they are so you can avoid them and look after your smile.

Last update: 08 July, 2021

Having a healthy mouth is essential to be able to do and enjoy all the actions a mouth should. However, some habits can affect your dental health and alter your quality of life.

It’s a mark of good oral health when you’re not suffering from any pain, cancer, infections, sores, periodontal disease, cavities, loss of teeth, or any disorder that affects this orifice. Any one of these issues can interfere with someone’s ability to chew, bite, eat, speak and smile. Also, they can affect your psychological wellbeing and quality of life.

Paying attention to dental hygiene and visiting the dentist regularly is vital to avoid such problems. However, there are some bad habits that you should avoid.

In this article, we’ll tell you all about which frequent habits can affect your dental health.

1. Chewing certain objects can affect your dental health

Some people tend to hold things in their mouth or chew objects every day, sometimes unconsciously. Chewing pencils, pens, sticks, or the end of your glasses can wear down your teeth. Also, it can cause small cracks and fractures that can cause dental sensitivity.

Ice is also a hard object you should avoid chewing. Both enamel and ice are crystals and the pressure between them breaks the weakest of the two. In general, it’s the ulna that breaks but sometimes the tooth can fracture.

Biting your nails is another habit that can affect your dental healthand the way your hands look. The strength it takes to cut your nails can damage your teeth. Also, the position your mouth has to be in to do this habit, with the lower jaw forward, can affect the jaw itself.

Similarly, nails harbor bacteria that get into your mouth and cause illnesses. This is especially true of people that work in contact with microorganisms.

woman biting nail close up
Chewing hard objects can affect the enamel of the teeth. It happens with ice, with pens, even with our own nails.

2. Using your teeth as tools is harmful

Teeth have the job of chewing foods and contributing to speech, but some people choose to use them as scissors or to hold objects when their hands are full. Cutting thread or tape, opening wrappers or bottles, removing labels from clothes or lids are some of the alternative uses, even though they’re harmful.

There are specific tools to do these tasks, which is why you should avoid doing them with your mouth. This is because it runs the risk of fracturing or wearing down the death, injuring the chin, or swallowing something unwanted by accident.

3. Consuming unhealthy drinks is bad for your dental hygiene

Frequently and excessively consuming some drinks can negatively affect the mouth:

  • Sugary carbonated drinks: drinking sodas and drinks with high contents of sugar and acids (citric, carbonic, tartaric, and phosphoric) erode the enamel that protects the teeth. As they wear down, it exposes the dentin tissue below. This increases sensitivity and the risk of cavities and infections.
  • Coffee, tea, or infusions: consuming these drinks often can stain the teeth. It’s important that you follow suitable dental hygiene after drinking them.
  • Alcohol: alcohol reduces the secretion of saliva, causing dehydration and a dry mouth. These increase the risk of cavities and infections. Specialists also link alcohol to the development of mouth cancer.

4. Poor dental hygiene harms your teeth

Not cleaning your mouth properly is a habit that affects dental health. Sometimes people believe the way they clean their teeth is sufficient and that everything will be fine. But, there are some things people do when cleaning their teeth that can cause damage.

  • Brushing too hard: an electric toothbrush, with too much strength, pressure or speed can damage your teeth and gums. A toothbrush with hard bristles can also cause injuries.
  • Not changing your toothbrush often: if you don’t replace your toothbrush every three months, it’ll wear down, the bristles will open and it won’t do what it should. So, its ability to effectively remove the remnants of food and bacteria plaque is reduced.
  • Using poor quality toothpaste: it’s vital to pay attention to the product that you choose to care for your mouth. Toothpaste should contain fluoride in suitable quantities (1000 to 1250 ppm) to protect the mouth. Reading the labels and looking for certified and tested products is very important when it comes to choosing which toothpaste to use.
  • Using toothpicks to clean your teeth: some people tend to use wooden toothpicks between their teeth to remove remnants of food. This can injure the gums, which is why using dental floss is a good idea.

5. Stress can affect your dental health

Nervous and anxious people often suffer complications with their mouths. In moments of crisis and lots of stress, they experience an involuntary squeezing of the jaw or grinding of the teeth,

This is something called bruxism and it can lead to damage and wear of the teeth or fractures and injuries in the temporomandibular joint. Pain in the jaw, face, ears, and head, muscular contraction, and complications chewing well or opening the mouth are also associated with this issue.

6. Diet plays an important role in oral health

Consuming some foods is harmful to dental health. Eating sugary products increases the risk of cavities, for example.

Foods with sticky textures can also affect the mouth. This is because they spend more time stuck to the teeth. This then helps bacteria to multiply and acids that cause cavities to form. Dental hygiene is essential to counteract the effect of these kinds of products.

7. Smoking is bad for your dental health

Tobacco is harmful to our health in general. In the mouth, in particular, it can damage the mucose. This can lead to periodontal diseases, cavities, and mouth cancer, as well as staining the teeth and causing halitosis.

In addition to this, it can alter the sense of taste. Many dental treatments fail on patients that smoke.

You may also be interested in: Kick the Habit: Nine Good Reasons to Stop Smoking

Advice for good dental health

Now you know which habits can affect your dental health. But, just advising you against these isn’t enough. Mouth care is essential and for that reason, below, we offer some advice you can use to get a healthy smile.

Oral hygiene and dental health

Cleaning your mouth is essential to remove bacterial and remnants of food, that if it accumulates, can cause the most common oral illnesses. You should brush your teeth three times a day with a soft-bristled brush and toothpaste that causes fluoride. You should also change it every 3 months.

It’s important to take the time you need to clean your mouth properly. You should angle your brush so it gets to where the gums and the teeth meet; use soft movements, circular and sweeping, paying attention to clean each side of each tooth. You should avoid abrupt, energetic movements or applying too much pressure.

You should use dental floss once a day to remove any bacterial plaque that can accumulate between your teeth, where your toothbrush can’t reach. You should gently floss between each tooth.

In some cases, it may be necessary to complement your dental hygiene with mouth wash. Your dentist will be able to assess which kind of product you should use.

Your diet

Eating a variety of nutritious food is the best idea. You should avoid, or at least, reduce, foods that contain a high sugar content.

Avoid eating hard or sticky foods with too many colorants is also a good idea. If you choose these kinds of foods, practicing good dental hygiene afterward will help protect your teeth.

Frequently asked questions about dental health

Woman at the dentists with her mouth open
You don’t have to wait until you’re suffering to visit the dentist. They’re able to prevent issues through periodic check-ups.

Visiting a dentist regularly can help them to detect any problem early. Acting promptly can help avoid complications and ensure that the treatments are simpler and achieve better results.

For that reason, we recommend you visit the dentist every six months. Also, you should consult them immediately if you experience any of these problems:

  • Gums that are inflamed, red, painful, swollen, or bleed easily
  • Sensitivity to cold, heat, or when biting
  • Gums that are distant from the teeth
  • Pain on any tooth, in the jaw, when chewing, or in your face muscles
  • Loose, broken, or fractured teeth
  • Problems with biting, crooked teeth, lack of contact between the upper and lower teeth
  • Bad breath or weird taste in your mouth
  • Ulcers or wounds that don’t heal
  • Implants that don’t stick and move around
  • Difficulty swallowing

Remember that early detection and treatment of problems with your gums, teeth, and mouth can help to guarantee good dental health for life.

Be responsible with your oral hygiene

A healthy mouth allows you to chew, eat, and speak properly. Also, an attractive mouth that can smile with confidence will help your self-esteem and your social relationships.

So, avoiding the habits that affect your dental health and paying special attention to your mouth is your responsibility. Although sometimes it may seem like an extra effort, having a healthy smile can improve your quality of life and it’s worth it!

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