Broken or damaged teeth are more common than you might think, and often these negative consequences result from harmful dental habits. Fortunately, if you kick these bad habits to the curb (or don’t pick them up to start with!), you can avoid the need for extensive tooth repair.
Here are a few pointers to remember when it comes to actions that can damage your teeth.
- Your teeth are not tools! Don’t use them to open plastic packages or bottles or attempt to crack nuts with your teeth. Doing so greatly increases the risk of breaking your teeth.
- Your teeth are designed to chew, but only on food! Fingernails, pencils and ice cubes are not food. Chewing on them can expose your teeth to forces that are stronger than they can tolerate.
- Don’t let stress take its toll on your teeth. The aforementioned pencil and fingernail chewing habits can be a way to cope with anxiety, at risk to your oral health. Excess stress can also manifest in subconscious clenching or grinding of the teeth. If you are experiencing increased stress, use effective stress management techniques or seek out a professional counselor to help you work through these issues.
- Make sure you take care of your teeth at home and get appropriate professional care. Teeth that are susceptible to tooth decay and other oral diseases are more likely to break or be lost. Therefore, you should take care to brush and floss daily as recommended and see your dentist for twice-yearly exams and professional cleanings, which also can help to limit disease-causing bacteria.
Sometimes teeth can be damaged so extensively by these bad habits that it may be impossible to save the tooth. If the tooth needs to be removed, the patient may need to consult with an oral surgeon about extraction and a tooth replacement solution, such as dental implants.
Are you doing things that could harm your smile? Be honest with yourself about the habits that you need to break, and substitute good oral health habits instead!