While the habits we preach daily is “brush twice a day, floss once a day” there are other good habits that can make a big difference in the health of your teeth. Here are some we want to share:
Thumbs Down on Thumb Sucking
Children who still suck their fingers or thumbs after their permanent teeth start coming in — usually around the age of 5 or 6 — could be causing permanent changes that affect tooth and jaw structure. Specifically, thumb sucking can cause a misalignment of teeth. This misalignment can lead to a number of issues, including difficulty chewing and breathing problems. During your child’s visit to Hawkins Dentistry we can discuss any concerns you have. In general though, it’s a good idea to help wean your child off his thumb.
Lay Off the Lemons
Sometimes kids pick up little habits that seem innocent enough but can cause problems. Sucking lemons is one of those things. People who suck lemons may be putting their dental health in jeopardy. According to Dr. Hawkins, the acidity in lemons corrodes the enamel of teeth. With repeated exposure to acidic substances you can cause permanent damage to tooth enamel which can lead to tooth decay and discomfort.
Don’t Brush Too Hard
Brushing your teeth regularly is part of good oral hygiene, but if you brush too vigorously, you can cause more harm than good. Brushing your teeth too hard can wear down enamel, irritate your gums, make your teeth sensitive to cold, and even cause cavities. To avoid these problems, Dr. Hawkins recommends using a soft bristled toothbrush.
Refrain From Jaw Clenching and Tooth Grinding
For some people, stress can trigger frequent clenching of the jaw or grinding of the teeth. “There is a severe amount of pressure on your teeth when you do that, and you can get microfractures or actual fractures in your teeth,” warns Dr. Hawkins. Microfractures are weakened areas in your teeth that puts them at risk for further damage. Jaw clenching or tooth grinding can also damage dental work.
Your Teeth Are Not a Tool
Many people use their teeth to break off a tag on clothing, rip open a package of potato chips, or even unscrew bottle tops. But according to Dr. Hawkins, teeth are meant to help us do three things: chew food, speak properly, and look better when we smile. “Teeth are not pliers, teeth are not hooks,” he says. Using your teeth as a tool is a threat to dental health and can damage dental work or cause your teeth to crack.
Don’t Park Your Pencil Between Your Teeth
Some people have a habit of holding objects — such as pens, pencils, or eyeglasses — between their teeth when concentrating on a difficult task. But they might not realize how much pressure they’re placing on their teeth as they bite down on a non-food object. Biting on a pen or a similar object can cause your teeth to shift or even crack. It can also damage existing dental work like veneers and crowns.
Boycott Nail Biting
Biting your nails doesn’t just harm the appearance of your hands — it can also damage your teeth and become an oral hygiene issue. “People who bite their nails usually do it chronically,” notes Dr. Hawkins. Regularly biting your nails can cause your teeth to move out of place. In addition, nail biting could potentially cause teeth to break or tooth enamel to splinter.