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Bad Oral Habits You Should Change

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Bad Oral Habits You Should Change

It’s not like any of us do it on purpose. We develop habits over the years which become so much a part of us we don’t even realize we are doing them. Some of them can cost us dearly when it comes to the health of our teeth and gums, and even lead to general health problems further down the line

None of want to end up with stained, skew or missing teeth; bad breath or swollen and diseased gums. All those things hit us where it really hurts – in our self-confidence levels, our smiles, and our bank balances. So it makes sense to try and avoid these habits. Particularly when we remember that gum disease and other oral health problems have been linked to serious health issues like diabetes, heart disease and strokes.

So it’s not just your smile you’re protecting when you try to kick the habits, or help your dear ones overcome ones they might have unconsciously adopted:

  1. Thumb sucking: Thumb sucking can be very comforting, but this habit should be long gone by the time permanent teeth start to develop. This usually happens at about 5 or 6 years old. Thumb sucking can cause crooked teeth, affect the bite, and even lead to deformities in the facial bone structure, leading to chewing and even breathing difficulties.
  2. Cheek and nail biting: Biting the inside of our cheeks can cause sores in the mouth which may lead to infections and, possibly, to oral cancer. Nail biting may break your teeth, splinter the enamel or push them out of alignment.
  3. Acidic and sugary foods and drinks contribute to tooth decay, erosion, and general problems with oral health. Acid left on the teeth eats away at the enamel on your teeth, leaving a rough surface where plaque builds up easily. Sugary beverages like sodas up the build-up of bad bacteria and plaque, resulting in tooth decay.
  4. Bad brushing can damage your tooth enamel and injure your gums. Avoid using a hard toothbrush and don’t use too much force. Replace your toothbrush every few months, because as the bristles become worn and bent, the brush is no longer effective.
  5. Failing on flossing. Sometimes it’s easy to forget (or procrastinate) when it comes to flossing between the teeth in order to remove any food debris which accumulates there. Green Apple Dental recommends that you should floss once a day.
  6. Clenching and grinding our teeth speeds up wear and tear damage. It can be caused by stress or anxiety, or start as a result of a bad bite or crooked or missing teeth. Wearing a mouth guard at night may help protect your teeth. Ignoring it can result in cracked or broken teeth or damage to the hinge joint between the jaw and the skull.
  7. Smoking has been linked to oral cancer, which affects the throat, beck and mouth. It can also lead to tooth loss, receding gums, stained teeth and a reduced sense of taste.
  8. Your teeth are made for eating, and not to open bottles, cut string, crush ice, chew on pencils or anything else. Not even occasionally, or “just this once”. The tooth damage these habits can cause will end up costing you a lot more than buying the correct tools for the job.
  9. Part of your kit: If you are involved in contact sport of any sort, don’t forget the mouth guard. It could save your teeth, and your bank balance.

It’s not easy to kick habits – if it were, they wouldn’t be habits. However, considering the consequences of the aesthetic and health damage mistreating your teeth can cause may be just the incentive you need to boot them right out of the window.

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