5 Bad Dental Habits to Break

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Taking care of your teeth seems pretty straightforward, right? Brush, floss, visit your Atlanta, GA dentist every six months, and limit your visits to the candy dish. But good oral care means a lot more than that. An important part of caring for teeth is quitting those bad dental habits (like the five listed below) that can negatively affect your oral health. Follow Dr. Richard L. Rodgers’ advice and stop these bad habits; your teeth will thank you!

When it comes to protecting your teeth through thorough preventive care treatments, trust your smile to Dr. Richard L. Rodgers and our Atlanta, GA dental team. If you’re looking for gentle, professional dental care in the central Atlanta area, our practice is currently accepting new patients! We can help you discover more ways to protect, restore, and improve your smile. Schedule your consultation today by calling 404.577.6620.

Brushing with Too Much Force

Regular brushing is a key component of oral health. But believe it or not, there’s a “wrong” way to brush. By brushing too forcefully, you can actually contribute to enamel erosion and gum recession. Always be gentle when brushing; it’s a good rule of thumb that if your brush bristles are flattened against your teeth and gums, you’re using too much pressure. A heavy hand isn’t needed since plaque is removed with light sweeps from your brush. Another tip: if you have a hard-bristled brush, swap it out for soft-bristled one. Choose one of these, recommended by the American Dental Association and Dr. Rodgers.

Biting Your Nails

Tooth enamel is the strongest biological substance, but it’s never a good idea to put it to the test by biting your nails. The pressure from biting your nails can not only chip or erode away enamel, but also can lead to jaw pain and discomfort. The position your lower jaw must move into in order to “bite” a nail requires it to move out of natural alignment. When nail biting becomes a habit, it can lead to jaw soreness that could eventually require treatment. For the sake of your teeth, jaws, and nails, learn to break the mindless habit. Our advice? Use a special nail polish formulated for nail-biters which makes nails taste unpleasant. This should discourage you when you do get the occasional urge to bite.

Chewing Ice

After you finish a drink, do you frequently munch on some ice cubes to keep your mouth occupied? The cold temperature and hard surfaces of ice puts unnecessary stress on your teeth. While teeth enamel is stronger than ice, it sometimes takes just one wrong bite to chip or crack a tooth, or even lose a filling. Drink through a straw and discard your drink right after finishing to rid yourself of the temptation to reach for ice.

Forgetting to Brush and Floss at Night

After a busy day, heading straight to bed might sound better than taking a couple minutes to brush and floss. But skipping your nightly brushings is more harmful than you may think. When you forget to brush your teeth before bed, all the food pieces and plaque accumulated from a day of eating are still left in the mouth during the long hours while you’re asleep. During this time, oral bacteria is free to feed on the starches left behind on teeth and gums. Harmful acids that erode tooth enamel are released by feeding bacteria, and contribute to tooth decay and periodontal disease. Remember those hungry bacteria next time you think about hitting the hay before a quick tooth brushing. To make it easier, start brushing immediately after dinner so you don’t forget.

Grinding Your Teeth While Asleep

The stress of work and family can sometimes bleed into our sleep, causing “bruxism” in some patients. Bruxism is the medical term for tooth grinding and clenching. Patients who regularly grind and clench their teeth at night can cause serious damage to teeth and the jaw, as TMJ pain and disorders are commonly linked to nighttime bruxism. A cracked tooth, enamel erosion, and worn or sensitive teeth are all side effects of mindless nighttime bruxism. If you wake up with headaches, a sore or stiff jaw, or sensitive teeth, you could be subconsciously grinding while asleep. If you suspect that you may suffer from bruxism, seek treatment from our Atlanta team immediately! Dr. Rodgers can fit you for a night guard which prevents grinding from occurring, and protects your teeth and jaw from potentially serious issues in the future.

Contact your Atlanta, GA dentist today!

To schedule a dental cleaning or exam, and to discover even more ways to protect your smile, contact Dr. Richard L. Rodgers today.

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