Good oral hygiene, or routine oral care, can help maintain the health of the teeth, gums, and mouth. If good oral hygiene is not practiced, serious dental problems, such as gum disease or tooth decay, can occur. Here are some practices that can harm our oral health.
Smoking increases the risk of cancer and heart disease, reduces our body's functioning in a variety of ways, discolors our teeth, and causes bad breath. Cigarettes contain a number of chemicals that stain your teeth yellow, brown, or black. They also cause dry mouth and bad breath. And that's just the beginning – the long-term effects of smoking on teeth are even worse. The nicotine in cigarettes paralyzes the salivary glands and damages the cells in the mouth. Over time this can cause mouth sores or lesions, gum disease, tooth decay, and even tooth loss. Not to mention the impact it has on your bones – particularly your jawbone. When you smoke, your body begins to break down bone cells in order to supply itself with the necessary nutrients it needs to function. As a result, smokers have a higher rate of bone loss than individuals that don't smoke. This puts them at a significantly higher risk of experiencing tooth loss as they get older. Put simply, if you smoke, you're putting yourself at risk for a variety of serious dental health issues. So for the sake of your health, consider quitting today!
When you brush your teeth too vigorously, you can damage the gums and even wear down the enamel. The best way to brush is to angle your toothbrush at 45 degrees to your gums and use short back-and-forth motions to clean each tooth individually. It is also important to replace the toothbrush every three to four months or when the bristles become frayed and worn. You should also avoid putting too much pressure on your toothbrush. Although it may seem that harder pressure will clean your teeth better, it can actually cause damage. You should hold the toothbrush gently with your fingertips so you are not pressing down too hard on the teeth and gums.
Nail biting is a common bad habit that can cause injury and damage to our teeth and gums. When we bite our nails, we can crack or chip a tooth, damage the soft tissue of the mouth, cause growths on our tongue, or even injure the skin around our mouths. These are serious issues that should not be ignored! In order to prevent this, try keeping your hands busy by chewing on sugar-free gum instead. Another idea is to cover up your fingernails with nail polish. This will prevent the temptation to bite your nails and will keep your nails looking nice and clean at the same time. If you struggle with chronic nail biting, talk with your dentist about possible solutions for this issue.
Teeth grinding is when you grind your teeth together, either due to stress or sleep disorders like sleep apnea. While it's not harmful if done occasionally, it can become a serious problem if it's done frequently and forcefully. Signs that you may have teeth grinding are headaches in the morning, jaw pain, worn-down tooth enamel, chipped or broken teeth, earaches (which can be a sign of TMJ disorder), and sleep problems. We recommend having a professional dental exam to rule out any underlying root issues that may be causing your bruxism. Once you're cleared, your dentist can give you a custom nightguard to protect your teeth from wear and tear caused by grinding.
Did you know that most people use their teeth as a handy tool during their daily activities? From opening packages to untying laces, we use our teeth for all sorts of purposes. This can cause all kinds of damage to our oral structures! So, stop the habit and use a tool instead.
If you want to learn more about good oral care habits, contact Dental Arts of Boston at (617) 266-0441 today to book an appointment with Boston Dentist. Our team can offer guidance and make product recommendations for your unique smile.