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5 Bad Habits That Can Ruin Your Teeth

Dental Habits and Lifestyle

When it comes to good oral health, it is common knowledge that brushing, flossing, and rinsing your mouth, along with regular dental visits are essential. However, do you know your habits and lifestyle can also affect your oral health too? Here are a few habits that are harmful to your teeth:

Frequently drinking carbonated drinks, sports drinks and lemon juice

A healthy mouth should have a pH of 5.5 or higher. Soft drinks are slightly acidic to maintain their fizziness and prevent bacteria growth. Citric juices, such as lemon or orange juice, are even more acidic. Constantly exposing our mouth and teeth to acidic mediums can erode our enamel and strip our teeth of its protection. In severe cases, the second layer (dentin) can wear away.

The consequences of an eroded enamel and dentin can range from mild teeth sensitivity while eating and drinking cold foods, to loss of mouth function and stained-looking teeth1

Stress and Anxiety

Many are unaware of the negative impact stress and anxiety has on our teeth.  Bruxism, or the grinding and clenching your teeth, have a very strong co-relationship with stress and anxiety. Studies show that 70% of individual who grind their teeth at night are affected by stress2.

Those who grind and clench their teeth may experience mild headaches, as well as pain on the lower jaw and facial muscles after waking up. Prolonged teeth grinding can lead to temporomandibular joint disorder, tooth wear and breakage3. Get a mouth guard to protect your teeth if you have bruxism. 

Nail Biting

Children or adults who bite their nails can risk cracking, chipping, or wearing down their teeth due to the stress placed on the teeth by biting. If the nails are sharp and jagged, biting them can cause the gums to tear and bleed as well. Children who bite their fingernails may also develop a gap between their front teeth4.

Baby and Toddler Put to Sleep With Milk Bottle

Many parents have the misconception that their baby’s teeth are not important because they will be replaced by adult teeth. However, they do not realise that baby teeth is important in helping their child eat, speak, and look good. Baby teeth also help guide their children’s adult teeth grow into the correct position5.

Milk bottle decay is a common dental problem among babies and children, occurring on the upper front teeth. It can also occur in any of the teeth as well.

Cavity-causing bacteria may be transmitted from parent to baby when parents put their baby’s feeding spoon in their mouth before feeding the baby. When parents put their babies and toddlers to sleep with milk bottles, they also expose their babies’ teeth to sweetened liquids in the bottle, such as milk or fruit juices.  The cavity-causing bacteria in the baby’s mouth will feed on the sugars and produce acid, which wears down then teeth, slowly causing decay over time.

Thumb Sucking 

Thumb sucking is a natural habit in babies and young children. While usually harmless; aggressive thumb sucking can damage the child’s permanent teeth alignment and change the roof of the mouth if the habit continues into the ages of 6 to 13 years old (6).  Your child may also develop an anterior open bite (upper front teeth do not come in contact with lower front teeth when biting), or overjet (front teeth are more protruded than normal) due to constant positioning of thumb in between the upper and lower front teeth7.

So, if you find you and your children having some of these bad habits, start breaking them today. With time and dedication, as well as regular visits to your dentist, you will get one step closer to protecting your teeth and your smile!



1http://rdhmag.com/etc/medialib/new-lib/rdh/site-images/volume-31/issue-8/1108RDH075-085.pdf 

2http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/teeth-grinding/Pages/Causes.aspx

3http://www.bruxism.org.uk/effects-of-bruxism.php

4http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/b/baby-bottle-tooth-decay

5http://www.ctkidsdentist.com/blog/nail-biting-can-lead-to-dental-problems/

6https://www.ada.org/~/media/ADA/Publications/Files/patient_77.pdf?la=en

7http://www.ptcdental.com/dentaldictionary/a/anterior-open-bite/