If you find yourself biting your nails, chewing on your pencil while you work, or crunching ice with your teeth, you may be putting your oral health at risk. These habits may seem trivial, but they actually have the potential to harm your teeth. Here at Northern Westchester Oral Surgery, caring for your smile is our top priority, which is why we’ve listed some bad habits to leave behind for better oral health.
These common habits have the potential to harm your teeth and oral health:
Crunching on ice – You may or may not realize it, but chewing ice negatively affects your oral health. Chewing on ice can wear down tooth enamel, which increases tooth sensitivity to hot and cold, and it can even break or crack teeth. People who have fillings and like to chew on ice should be especially careful, because ice can actually make fillings contract and become more fragile and prone to breaking. If you are looking for an alternative to ice, try sugar-free gum or minted toothpicks.
Biting nails – Many people absentmindedly bite their nails throughout the day. Most nail biters perform this habit when they are anxious or bored and have been biting their nails for so long that they don’t even notice how often they do it. It may seem like a harmless habit, but regularly biting your nails can cause your teeth to break or become misaligned. You can try to make yourself more aware of your behavior by wearing hand sanitizer or scented lotion, which can help you notice when you bring your hands up to your face to bite.
Gnawing on pens or pencils – People like to chew on pens or pencils when they are working or studying, but this can actually cause great harm to your teeth. People tend to be unaware of how much pressure they are putting on their teeth when they bite down on these hard objects that typically have plastic or metal covers. Consequences of pen chewing include shifting, cracking, and breaking of the teeth, which in turn impairs your ability to chew and smile with confidence. Try adding some pencil toppers or erasers to your pencils to remind you not to bite!
Opening packaging with your teeth – Many people use their teeth to open a difficult package or loosen a plastic cap. It seems more convenient to use your teeth when scissors aren’t available, but taking some extra time to find a proper tool could save you time and money in the long run. Teeth exist to help us eat, speak, and smile. Your teeth are not meant to withstand the type of stress put on them when biting and tearing tough packaging or other hard objects. Rather than risking cracked and broken teeth, which can be painful and expensive, take an extra moment to find the tool or scissors you need.
We know that some habits can be tough to break, but putting your oral health first will benefit you in the long run. Your teeth will remain strong and healthy, and you will keep your ability to chew food and smile proudly. If you have lost or broken teeth caused by any of these habits, or for other reasons, please feel free to contact us about possible restorative solutions, such as dental implants. We look forward to answering any questions you have and scheduling your consultation appointment with our highly trained oral surgeon!