Good personal hygiene is a way of life for many people. And if you’re reading this post wondering about oral hygiene tips, you are probably one of them. Adequate oral hygiene is necessary for healthy gums and teeth. While good oral hygiene habits give you an appealing smile and enhance your self-esteem, bad oral habits can lead to several mouth ailments – leading to high dentist bills.
Yes, you may end up spending thousands of bucks on oral health problems just because you weren’t following some very simple oral hygiene habits.
10 Bad Oral Habits to Break
To help you avoid visiting a dentist anytime soon, here are some bad oral hygiene habits you need to break now.
1. Irregular Flossing & Brushing
Irregular flossing and brushing can lead to many dental issues. If you skip regular hygiene routines you can expect some backlash from your mouth. You are most likely to experience bad breath, bleeding, swollen gums, and cavities. If you get a cavity and don’t treat it, they can damage the nervous system of the tooth and cause you a lot of pain . You may even require root canals or extractions if the cavity gets large enough.
So make sure to always brush twice a day and floss at least once a day to maintain a healthy mouth.
TIP: The most important time time to brush and floss your teeth is at night before bed.
Smoking is a bad habit that can lead to many oral health problems. Smoking not only affects your teeth and gums but it can also lead to life-threatening mouth conditions such as oral cancer.
So whether you’ve been a smoker for 6 months or 5 years, quitting will certainly decrease the risk of developing oral cancer, heart disease, lung cancer, and other serious conditions. The use of tobacco is also a common reason for stained and yellow teeth.
3. Lip or Cheek Biting
Biting your lip or cheek accidentally is a painful yet usually harmless trait. However, if you have a habit of biting your cheek or lip, it can further lead to serious oral health problems. Moreover, misaligned teeth can cause chronic cheek irritation. When cheeks and lips are chewed often, the irritated and sore skin may lead to a skin infection. According to a study done in 2017, there is also a possibility that cheek chewing can be a risk for oral cancer.
4. Brushing Too Aggressively
Brushing your teeth too aggressively can cause damage to your teeth and gums. If you are brushing too hard, you can actually cause your gums to recede and your tooth structure to wear down. If your toothbrush bristles are splayed and fan out over time, that is a sign you are brushing too hard.
Always use a soft bristled toothbrush like this one. Anything harder than that may result in damaged gums and teeth.
5. Teeth Grinding and Clenching
Clenching or grinding your teeth can be very damaging to your teeth. There can be several causes of teeth grinding. If you know or suspect you are doing this, visit your dentist so they can get to the root of the problem. They can make you a night-guard to prevent damage to your teeth.
6. Finger or Thumb Sucking
We’re not talking about babies here. This habit is also common among adults. Babies often suck their thumb when their facial muscles and bone structure are developing. This is a common practice among babies but can lead to serious oral health problems.
Note that thumb sucking can cause some facial deformations including an overbite or an open bite which may require orthodontic treatment.
7. Biting or chewing on objects
If it isn’t food or drink, chances are, it doesn’t belong in your mouth. Chewing on clothing, pens, pencils and other foreign objects can cause chips, fractures and damage to your tooth enamel and existing dental restorations. This can also cause trauma or injury to your teeth and gums.
8. Chewing on ice
Chewing on ice is a common bad oral habit. Chomping on ice can result in broken, cracked, chipped & sensitive teeth. It can also break any previous dental work you have in your mouth.
9. Biting and chewing on fingernails
Biting and chewing on fingernails is a bad oral habit that many people have. Many germs live under your fingernails. When you chew on fingernails it transfers the germs directly to your mouth. These bad bacteria germs can easily cause oral health issues such as infections and irritation. Not to mention this can make you sick.
10. Drinking sugary acidic drinks
Drinking sugary drinks is one of the leading causes of tooth decay. Your mouth is naturally non acidic. If you introduce and constantly attack your teeth with sugars and acids from sugary acidic drinks, your mouth’s ph level will become more acidic. When you mouth is more acidic, cavity causing bacteria will attack the teeth causing tooth decay. Acidic drinks can not only cause tooth decay but can cause tooth erosion as well.
Getting over the above-mentioned oral hygiene habits should be a priority if you want optimal oral health. It is important to adopt good dental health care habits from childhood to adulthood to keep healthy gums and teeth. Avoiding expensive visits to the dentist is just a bonus.
In case you’re concerned about your dental health or need some suggestions, feel free to contact us and we’ll be more than happy to assist.
Kelly Hancock, RDH
Kelly is a registered dental hygienist and oral health care provider. She is passionate about oral hygiene and encourages people to achieve optimal oral health. She has been working in the dental profession for 16 years and worked in many different roles in the dental industry. Kelly is currently a pediatric dental hygienist specializing in children’s dentistry. She is committed to helping others with their oral health care issues and helping others achieve a smile they love.