Once a person has grown his or her permanent set of teeth, there are no natural replacements that will come in if those teeth become damaged or lost. While restorative dentistry can rebuild a smile damaged by injury, decay, or tooth loss, it is always ideal to protect the natural teeth and preserve good oral health. One way in which patients can help to ensure that the teeth will remain strong and healthy is by avoiding bad dental habits. Bad dental habits can break down tooth enamel, weaken the structure of the teeth, and leave the mouth vulnerable to serious dental complications. The team of dentists at The Smile Center discusses bad dental habits with our Virginia Beach, VA patients so that they understand the importance of avoiding these potentially harmful habits.
Bad Dental Habits
There are several habits that can damage the teeth and increase the risk of oral health problems. However, many of these habits cause gradual damage, so patients are often not aware of how harmful these habits are. Below are some bad dental habits that can compromise the health, strength, and beauty of the smile:
- Teeth grinding: Teeth grinding and clenching is a common dental habit. Many people practice this habit as a way of dealing with stress or tension. Other conditions that may contribute to teeth grinding include alignment problems and temporomandibular (TMJ) disorder. Whatever the cause of this habit may be, the results are likely to be the same. Teeth grinding places excessive pressure on the teeth and can break down tooth enamel over time, making the teeth vulnerable to decay, infection, chips, cracks, and fractures.
- Biting on non-food items: The teeth are meant to chew food, but that is it. They are not built for biting the nails, breaking through packaging, or opening cans or bottles. Unfortunately, many people use their teeth as tools. The risk of an injury while performing these tasks is high, but even if the teeth do not chip or break, the tooth enamel will wear down and the strength of the teeth will be compromised.
- Brushing the teeth with excessive force: It is important to brush the teeth at least twice a day, but even if a patient is brushing frequently enough, they will not be benefiting themselves if they are using too much force when doing so. The teeth are surrounded by a protective layer of enamel, but they are still relatively delicate. The enamel needs to last a lifetime, so it is important to brush the teeth with gentle strokes, and to use a soft-bristled toothbrush. Hard bristles and excessive force will break down tooth enamel and make it easier for bacteria to reach the center of the tooth, where decay and infection can develop.
- Avoiding professional dental care: Even if all other dental habits are avoided, professional dental care is a must. Far too many people fail to schedule routine dental exams and cleanings, and, therefore, do not catch oral health problems until they have reached advanced stages. To get the greatest benefits from professional dental care, exams and cleanings should be scheduled at least twice a year.
Schedule an Appointment
If you are looking for a trusted and experienced dentist to provide the general dentistry care you need to preserve the health of your smile, look no further than The Smile Center. Schedule an appointment at your earliest convenience to learn more about our comprehensive range of dental services.
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