All of us at Utah Surgical Arts know how important a patient’s smile is, and we are here to ensure your smile stays bright and healthy. Are you a nail biter? Or maybe you gnaw on your pencils while you work or study. While these habits may seem harmless, they have the potential to harm your teeth and cause unnecessary complications. The following are some of the most common habits that can harm your teeth and oral health.
Using Your Teeth as a Tool to Open or Tear Objects: Have you ever bought a new piece of clothing and ripped off the tag with your teeth? While this may seem like a quick and easy solution, teeth exist to help us speak, smile, and chew properly; they are not meant to rip pieces of plastic. Teeth are not designed to (and should not) withstand the type of stress put on them when trying to use them as a tool for ripping things open. Using your teeth to bite down on hard objects can cause them to crack or break, which can be very painful and costly to repair. Instead of risking your smile, take a moment to find the tool you need; this could save you a lot of time, discomfort, and money in the long run.
Ice Chewing and Crunching: This is one of the most common and damaging habits for oral health. It may seem easy to chew on ice, but ice crunching can wear down tooth enamel. Tooth enamel helps to protect tooth nerves, and wearing it down increases sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures. Sometimes ice chewing can even crack or break teeth. If you have any fillings, you should be especially careful, as ice causes fillings to contract and become more fragile. If you need something to occupy your mouth, try sugar-free gum or minted toothpicks instead.
Biting on Pens or Other Objects: People tend to chew on pencils or pens absentmindedly and are unaware of the pressure they are putting on their teeth when they bite down on metals and plastics. Biting on such hard objects can cause shifting, cracking, and breaking of the teeth, which can impair your ability to chew and smile normally. Chewing gum can help to stop this habit as well. You might also consider buying pencil toppers or eraser covers to eliminate the temptation to bite.
Nail biting: People who bite their nails are at risk for misaligned, splintered, or broken teeth, which permanently damage your smile. Additionally, biting your nails is not sanitary and bad for nail health. If you are a regular nail biter and want to quit, try sugar-free gum to keep your mouth occupied. Or try wearing scented lotion or hand sanitizer – this can help you notice how often you bring your hands up to your mouth to bite your nails.
Long-term habits can be tough to break, but your oral health will benefit greatly when you eliminate the habits we listed above. Your teeth will remain healthy, intact, and strong, plus you’ll be able to show off your smile with confidence. If you have lost or broken teeth, either in connection with these habits or for other reasons, please feel free to contact our office. We are happy to assess your condition and review possible solutions, such as dental implants. We will gladly answer any questions you have or schedule a consultation for you.