5 Habits That are Harmful to Your Teeth

  • Posted on: Feb 24 2015

We take good care of our teeth when it comes to brushing and flossing but sometimes we are not so kind to our pearly whites when we aren’t paying attention. Certain sneaky – and even subconscious habits – have the potential to harm our smiles.

Here are five habits worth breaking:

1. Nail Biting
Biting your nails is more than a cosmetic no-no as each bite has the potential to cause teeth to break or tooth enamel to splinter. Regularly biting your nails can cause your teeth to move out of place. Plus, nail biting (technically called Onychophagia) is unsanitary. Many germs are caught up under our fingernails and when you bite your nails, you invite germs into your mouth.

2. Ice Crunching
While chewing ice may seem a harmless trait (and a invaluable one in the heat of summer), the cold temperature and hardness of the cubes can cause gum issues, enamel fractures, and even broken teeth. Eating ice is particularly bad for those who have just had dental work done or wear braces. For those with sensitive teeth, ice crunching will actually worsen the pain so it’s better to steer clear.

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3. Toothpicks
It may be hard to resist the help of a toothpick to clean the areas between your teeth after a meal but use the tools gently. Be careful not to scrape or push too hard or you risk damaging your gum tissues. Opt for dental floss or a floss pick for a less abrasive option.

4. Jaw Clenching
Teeth grinding or jaw clenching – termed Bruxism – is often triggered by stress. The pressure put on your teeth when you clench or grind can be minimal but it can also be more severe and lead to jaw disorders, headaches, damaged teeth or even fractures. If you find yourself grinding, give us a call so we can do an evaluation to see if we might help prevent damage.

5. Using Teeth as a Tool
Teeth are tools, but they are meant for one purpose only: food. Using teeth to cut, break, or severe anything other than food (and not rock-candy hard foods, either!) means risking fractures and split enamel. Keep your smile strong and reach for the scissors the next time you need to open a package or remove a tag.

Published by: Grand Rapids Dentistry Blog – A Life of Smiles
A Grand Rapids, Michigan based cosmetic, general & sedation dentistry


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