Taking care of your teeth and gums is an important ritual, but is one that can be confusing. Many people struggle to find that perfect toothpaste, toothbrush, floss, and mouthwash that is right for their smile and routine. While selecting the right dental products plays a huge role in maintaining your teeth, there may be things you are doing to harm your smile without even realizing it.  No matter how comprehensive your oral care routine, harmful habits such as nail biting, grinding and clenching,  and sugary, acidic drinks can harm your teeth.

Nail Biting

Nail biting is a habit that can harm your teeth and overall oral health. Damage from nail biting isn’t easily seen with the naked eye, so you may think you aren’t really harming your smile when you do it. But by performing this habit, you transfer tons of bacteria from under your nails to your mouth. Roughly 150 species of bacteria live on the hand. Transporting these microorganisms can cause gum infections, bad breath, and compromise your oral health. Biting your nails can also lead to more serious issues such as TMJ and arthritis.

To prevent these habits, keep your nails short and filed. If necessary, keep your hands busy— squeeze a stress ball, stretch, or doodle to keep your mind distracted from biting your nails. If you still find yourself biting your nails, apply a bitter-tasting nail polish to your nails to prevent you from putting your fingers in your mouth.

Grinding and Clenching

Many people tend to grind and clench their teeth, but what many do not know is that this causes damage and other potential complications.  Teeth grinding often happens while you sleep, so many are unaware that it’s even happening. This is harmful to teeth and can result in fracturing, loosening, or loss of teeth. Chronic grinding can also wear teeth down to stumps which will lead expensive but necessary dental procedures, such as bridges, crowns, root canals, and implants.

Sugary and Acidic Drinks

Have you ever wondered why your teeth turn yellow after having a Coca-Cola? Due to the extremely high sugar content in sodas, the more soda you drink, the weaker your teeth become.  Continuous consumption of sodas or beverages with high content of sugar can weaken your tooth enamel, leading to potential cavities. Stay away from this beverages to avoid tooth decay!

By ending bad dental habits such as nail biting, grinding and clenching your teeth, and sugary acidic drinks, you may be surprised how well your dental health will maintain as the years go on. Some people grind and clench their teeth while they sleep at night or when they get anxious, so if this happens and you are aware of it, speak to your dentist to find a helpful solution to maintain your beautiful smile.

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