We all have our vices. Perhaps you bite your nails, smoke, or have a particular fondness for sugar. Some of these habits we recognize for their negative impact on our lungs, heart, or physical appearance. However, these vices and many others also have the potential to negatively impact oral health. If you were to ask your dentist, he’d likely dissuade engaging in the following particular vices:
Teeth Grinding – Teeth grinding can be a difficult habit to kick, particularly because so many people are unaware that they do it. Also known as bruxism, teeth grinding occurs primarily during sleep. Left unchecked, teeth grinding can lead to damage requiring dental implants, bridges, or crowns. It can also lead to TMJ. While your dentist may recognize signs of teeth grinding during an exam, spotting the symptoms during waking hours will be critical to identifying a problem. Headaches and a sore jaw are the most common complaints of teeth grinders.
Smoking – If you’re a smoker, you know it’s bad for you. There’s no longer any doubt about the incredibly harmful impact that smoking can have on your body, your lungs in particular. You have ample reasons to quit and have no doubt tried in the past. Now, here’s even more reasons to add to your list. In addition to bad breath and discolored teeth, smoking has been linked to gum disease, bone loss, and an increased risk of developing oral cancer.
Nail Biting – Nail biting may seem harmless enough, and you may think that the state of your nails is the only thing to really suffer. However, there are a number of oral problems that occur in nail biters. The introduction of new bacteria into the mouth is not the least of these. Salmonella and E. coli for instance are frequently found under fingernails. Additionally, the habit may cause a gradual shift in the alignment of teeth, negatively affecting your bite. Eventually, teeth may also become misshapen or show premature signs of wear. According to the Academy of General Dentistry, individuals who bite their nails may see as much as a $4,000 increase in dental-related expenses over time.
In addition to those listed above, a diet with too much sugar, not changing your toothbrush frequently enough, skipping dental exams, and crunching on ice all make our bad habit list. Oral health has a big impact on our overall wellbeing and should not be an afterthought. While it’s best to avoid these vices altogether, we understand that isn’t always possible. Regular dental exams will help keep your teeth and gums healthy, even if you don’t always make the healthiest choice possible.
If you are in the Thibodaux area, contact the office of Dr. Ber to schedule an exam, and get your oral health on the right track.