Habits to Avoid that Harm Your Teeth
Having healthy teeth is not only important to your appearance but also contributes to your overall well-being. Oral health can affect your heart, lungs, brain and immune system.
Neglecting Baby Teeth
Tooth decay is the most common childhood disease. Some people assume that because primary teeth are eventually going to fall out, there isn’t a point in investing in them. On the contrary, leaving primary teeth untreated can lead to forced extraction. Healthy, intact primary teeth are essential for proper development of permanent teeth.
Vigorous Thumb Sucking
Typical thumb sucking won’t cause any issues in kids who discontinue the habit before about five years old. The child who vigorously sucks to the point of having calloused fingers can cause misalignment issues for incoming teeth, but can also reshape the upper palate and jaw.
Dramatic cases of nail biting can lead to teeth shifting out of place. If your teeth are already weak, chewing or biting on nails can contribute to chipping of the front teeth, where they meet to bite the nail. It can wear away the enamel on teeth and cause trauma to fillings. People who bite nails are more susceptible to grinding their teeth, another harmful nervous habit.
If the physical trauma isn’t enough, biting your nails introduces more bacteria to the mouth, which can contribute to tooth decay and halitosis.
Harder is Not Better
Brushing too hard can cause abrasions on your teeth and make your gums recede away from the gum line. Erosion of the enamel is caused by too much pressure and powerful scrubbing. Plaque isn’t removed with effort; it’s removed with careful technique and the right tools.
Lips Together, Teeth Apart
Grinding your teeth can literally wear them away to the point where they fall out. Teeth are made from the hardest substance in your body, but constant grinding of these strong surfaces causes tooth wear. It can fracture teeth and contribute to jaw joint problems.
Teeth are Not Tools
Your teeth are intended for chewing your food. Never use your teeth to tear open packages, to cut thread, open bobby pins or hold things when your hands are full. Do not use open sunflower seeds or pistachios. Teeth support your cheeks and lips structurally and will serve you for a lifetime if you treat them gently and only use them for the purpose for which they were intended.
If you have any questions for your Des Moines dentist, please call our office at (515) 277-6657.