It is the start of a brand new year and for many of us, that means it is a time to set new goals or resolutions for ourselves. Whether we realize it or not, some of us have some habits that could cause trouble for our dental health. Here are a few simple, smile-friendly resolutions that you can start today.
The Habit: This nervous habit can chip teeth and impact your jaw.
The Solution: Bitter-tasting nail polishes, stress reduction and setting small, realistic goals can help. If certain situations are triggers, hold something to keep your fingers busy.
Brushing Too Hard
The Habit: Brushing for two minutes twice a day is one of the best habits you can get into. However, brushing too hard can damage teeth and irrigate gums.
The Solution: Use a soft toothbrush to gently brush your teeth and massage your gums. Developing good brushing habits at a young age is critical to the success of good oral health. Try tracking your families tooth brushing habits on a monthly calendar. (link below)
Grinding and Clenching
The Habit: Stress and anxiety are two factors which cause you to grind or clench your teeth while awake and asleep. This can cause chipping or cracking of the teeth as well as muscle tenderness or joint pain.
The Solution:Relaxation exercises and staying aware of the habit helps. You might also try a nighttime mouthguard to help with muscle soreness, jaw pain, tooth damage and provide better sleep.
Chewing Ice Cubes
The Habit: Chewing on ice won’t destroy your health like other addictions will, but it poses a great risk for your dental health. Chewing on ice could result in cracked or chipped teeth, damage to tooth enamel, sore muscles, or problems with existing dental work such as fillings or crowns.
The Solution: Drink chilled beverages without ice, or use a straw so you’re not tempted to munch on the ice in the drink. Use crushed ice instead of cubes to lesson the risk of damage to your teeth.
The Habit: Grazing all day, especially on sugary foods and drinks, puts you at a higher risk for cavities. When you eat, cavity-causing bacteria feast on leftover food, producing an acid that attacks the enamel of your teeth.
The Solution: Eat balanced meals to feel fuller, longer. If you need a snack, make sure it’s low in fat and sugar. If you indulge in the occasional sugary treat, follow it with a big glass of water to wash away leftover food.
Using Your Teeth As Tools
The Habit: Using your teeth to open things such as bottle caps or plastic packaging puts you at higher risk for cracking your teeth, injuring your jaw or accidentally swallowing something.
The Solution: Keep a pair of scissors or a bottle opener handy. Ultimately, your teeth should only be used for eating.
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