No matter how strong you think your teeth are, there’s only so much stress they can handle. Often those seemingly insignificant habits in our everyday lives can put the most stress on our teeth. Here are some of the worst (and most common) habits that are destroying your teeth.
Your morning coffee may be tradition, but it’s taking a toll on your enamel. The acid wears on the tooth’s surface, and the drink’s dark color stains your teeth a little with each cup. Some say that drinking quickly helps reduce the damage, but either way you should take it easy on your coffee intake.
You might think your teeth can handle the stress, but ice-chewing is extremely hard on your teeth because of its extreme temperature, dryness, and solidity. Chomping on ice can cause tiny, barely-noticeable fractures on your teeth that lead to future problems. It can also cause full on chipped teeth, so it’s best to let this habit die.
This most often applies to younger children, but can just as easily apply to adults. Habitual sucking — on a thumb, binky, or other object — can put strange stress on the roots of the teeth and cause them to grow in or become crooked. Even if you have a habit of sucking on the end of your pen, this can cause some serious damage to your smile.
If you’ve made a habit out of ripping open packages with your teeth, you should start making that extra trip to go get scissors from now on. Using your teeth this way can be extremely damaging on both the roots and the enamel, and harmful to the gums as well. To avoid some painful problems in the future, scissors are the way to go.
Most people claim you should stop this habit for the sake of your nails, but it also has a huge impact on your oral health. The rough contact of tooth on nail can cause the tooth to splinter, and wears away at the enamel. If the nail-biting habit is extremely prominent, you can cause your teeth to become crooked and jagged as well over time.
Smoking is bad for a lot of things, and your teeth aren’t met with any mercy from the bad habit. The chemicals severely affect the attachment of the gums to your teeth, and years of smoking lead to severe tooth discoloration. Bad breath is another almost inevitable side effect of cigarette smoking. Considering the fact that smoking raises your risk for oral cancer more than anything, this is a habit you should kick as quickly as you can.
Habits are always hard to change, but there are always methods at your disposal. In large cities such as New York and Los Angeles, “Quit Smoking” groups are increasing drastically in number to help you kick one of the hardest habits out there. As for habits like nail-biting and ice-chewing, be sure to reward yourself for any achievements (with sugar-free snacks) and keep up the positive momentum toward breaking the habits— your beautiful smile is at stake!
Drew Kobb, in addition to studying civil law, loves long-distance running and considers himself a health and fitness enthusiast. His interests range all over the medical field, and Drew highlights that range on his blog, Dr. Ouch. For more information on getting help quitting smoking, visit MakeTheShiftNow.com.