Your teeth are incredibly durable, but they are not impervious to damage. It frequently surprises patients to learn that even ordinary every day habits can cause significant damage to a person's smile. Studies have shown that up to 25% of adults over the age of 65 in the United States have lost all of their teeth, and all causes of tooth loss are entirely avoidable.
Read on to learn about seven things you should never do with your teeth and how you can keep them healthy.
Never Use Your Teeth As Tools
Using your teeth as tools can cause permanent damage to the point of needing crowns, veneers, fillings, or even dental implants to restore the tooth. Never use your teeth to open bottles, to tear open a bag, or to cut something. Just as damaging, chewing on pencils, pens, or eyeglasses as a nervous tick can be detrimental to your tooth enamel. Parents should also be mindful of what their children chew on and how they use their teeth. Damage to baby teeth can affect the health of a child's teeth, gums, and jawbone, altering the alignment of their adult teeth as they come in.
Never Mindlessly Munch On Hard Foods
Your teeth are incredibly durable. The enamel of your teeth is the hardest substance in the human body; however, your teeth are not invincible. Chewing on hard foods can lead to chips, cracks, and entire tooth fractures in severe cases. If a tooth becomes completely fractured, the tooth will need to be restrengthened, or potentially replaced with a dental implant if the damage is extensive.
Always be mindful when eating the following foods:
- Mixed nuts
- Olives with pits
- Beans or lentils
- Hard crackers
- Cherries, peaches, or other fruits with a pit
- Bone-in cuts of meat
Never Chew On Your Fingernails
You may think of your fingernails as a soft or brittle thing to bite, but you may be surprised to learn the damage nail-biting can do. It takes a surprising amount of force for your teeth to bite through your fingernails. Over time, this exertion can cause your teeth to shift and become misaligned. Your fingernails have sharp and jagged edges that can cut into your gum tissue and introduce infection into your mouth.
Never Crunch Ice
Some find chewing on ice to be a relief for a dry mouth, to help quit smoking, or for general stress relief. However, just like chewing on hard foods, crunching ice can be a terrible habit for your teeth. Tooth fractures generally develop over time, often starting as a small chip or crack that you may not notice. During routine dental checkups, our dental experts at Elite Dental & Denture PC will examine your teeth for chips, cracks, or weakened tooth enamel. If you notice a chip or crack in a tooth, be sure to discuss it with your dentist before it turns into a fracture.
Never Grind Your Teeth Or Clench Your Jaw
Clenching your jaw, grinding your teeth, or even chewing on your cheek or lips can all be nervous habits caused by pressure or stress. Even more dangerous, many patients are surprised to learn that they have been grinding their teeth at night without realizing they're doing it.
Clenching can quickly lead to TMJ, causing a lot of jaw pain and discomfort, chronic headaches, and poor sleep. Grinding your teeth also slowly wears away your tooth enamel leading to gum recession and gum disease.
Never Brush With Anything Other Than a Soft-Bristled Toothbrush
The only thing you need to keep your teeth clean and healthy is a soft-bristled toothbrush. Hard bristles can irritate your gums and remove your tooth enamel while you clean. It would be best if you also were mindful of teeth whitening trends that include using household products that are not meant for your teeth. Always discuss changes to your oral hygiene routine with your dentist first, so you have an expert opinion.
Never Avoid Routine Dental Exams and Cleanings
Getting your teeth cleaned and examined by a dental professional every six months is critical to maintaining excellent oral hygiene. Putting off routine appointments can lead to minor issues, becoming more extensive and expensive to repair.
For more tips on keeping your teeth strong, healthy, and beautiful, contact Elite Dental & Denture PC today.