Bad Habits – are they harming your teeth?

How do your bad habits affect your teeth?

Most of us have one or more bad habits – smoking, drinking alcohol, eating too much or too many sweets. In addition to the effect on overall health and well being, many of these bad habits can also affect your teeth and gums.

There are several bad habits that are particularly nasty for your dental health:

  • Clenching or grinding teeth
  • Nail biting (or chewing other things, such as pens or pencils)
  • Smoking
  • Drinking excessive alcohol
  • Eating and drinking too many sugary foods and drinks

Many old habits can be difficult to break, but it’s important to stop these ones to ensure your teeth remain healthy.

Clenching teeth can cause tension and pain in the jaw muscles, while teeth grinding (or bruxism) can wear down the surface of the teeth over time.

Nail biting or chewing items such as pens or pencils can also cause tension in the jaw, and may contribute to chipping teeth.

Smoking, as well as giving  you bad breath, causes teeth staining and on a long term basis the reduced blood flow can damage gums. Smoking causes increased build up of plaque and tartar on the teeth, and loss of bone in the jaw. Dental patients have delayed healing processes following dental procedures and lower success rate of dental implants.

Eating or drinking foods and drinks that contain excess sugar can result in increased decay and acid wear.

Alcohol contains sugars, and drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can have similar effects to drinking sugary or fizzy drinks. Sugars and acids found in alcohol and sweetened drinks attack your tooth enamel and can cause dental decay.

One good habit to continue is regular dental check ups. Visit your dentist every six months so we can check your dental health and give you some helpful tips to maintain strong healthy teeth.