Oral Hygiene Basics: Bad Habits to Avoid For Better Oral Health

Good oral hygiene habits are important for maintaining your oral and overall health. Bad habits can negatively affect the health and appearance of your teeth. Listed below are a few bad oral habits that affect your oral health.

  • Smoking

There is no doubt that smoking is bad for health. It can affect our whole body, including our teeth and gums. People who smoke are more likely to have gum disease and oral cancer. What’s more, nicotine causes blood vessels in the gums to constrict. That means less blood flow and oxygen to the gum tissues, which decreases the body’s ability to fight infections. As a result, smokers are more likely to develop periodontal disease or gum disease, which can lead to tooth loss. Be sure to tell your dentist if you smoke so they can recommend the best treatment options for you!

  • Brushing Aggressively

If you’re using a hard-bristled toothbrush or brushing your teeth too aggressively, you could be doing more harm than good to your teeth and gums. Both can cause enamel to wear away. Enamel is one of the hardest substances in the body and protects the teeth and roots from damage. If tooth enamel wears away, patients may experience sensitivity and pain.

A soft-bristled toothbrush should be used to brush your teeth. The American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth for two minutes twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Take the time to brush every surface of your teeth, including the backs of the teeth and the chewing surfaces. Spend extra time cleaning the hard-to-reach areas around the back teeth. Use a gentle back-and-forth motion to clean teeth as well as a soft up-and-down motion to remove plaque and food from the gum line. Avoid scrubbing too hard on your gums, as this can cause irritation and pain.

When brushing, avoid aggressive movements that can cause enamel wear or damage to gums. If you are experiencing any discomfort while brushing your teeth, try using a softer brush or speak to your dentist about other oral hygiene products that can help.

  • Teeth Grinding

While occasional teeth grinding is not an emergency dental problem, it should still be taken seriously. Chronic teeth grinding can damage teeth and cause soreness and stiffness in the jaw. Over time this can lead to damaged tooth enamel, fractured teeth, chronic headaches, and TMJ disorder. It also increases your risk of suffering from sleep apnea because clenching or grinding the teeth can put a strain on the airways. If you suffer from severe bruxism, we may recommend a custom mouth guard to wear while you sleep to protect the teeth from damage.

  • Using Teeth As Tools

Sometimes we use our teeth for purposes other than eating and talking. For example, people sometimes use their teeth to open packages or bottle caps. This can damage your teeth or cause them to chip. If you habitually use your teeth to do these things, stop this and consider using appropriate tools instead.

  • Not Visiting Your Dentist Regularly

Many people avoid going to the dentist due to anxiety or fear, but skipping your checkups can be damaging to your oral health for a number of reasons. A basic checkup and teeth cleaning are essential for the prevention of several dental diseases and early detection of decay and infection, oral cancer, and gum disease. These appointments are also a good way to get to know your dentist and ask questions you may have about your teeth and gums.

At Coeur D’Alene Family Dentistry, we strive to provide each of our patients with a positive and relaxing experience. If you’re ready to experience the best dental care, please contact us at 2201 N Government Way G, Coeur D’Alene, ID 83814. For an appointment, call (208) 664 – 9129 or email us at [email protected]

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