One of the best habits you can develop for the good of your dental health is brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing at least once. Another is to visit your dentist’s office at least once every six months for your routine dental exam and cleaning. Conversely, bad habits would include neglecting these essential dental hygiene rituals, but there are more subtle things you can do that can negatively affect your teeth and gums without your realization. To help ensure that your nervous tick or other mannerisms aren’t harming your dental health, West Des Moines family dentist Dr. Jessica Johnson discusses some habits that your teeth will thank you to stop.
Beware of These Habits
An ice cube, popcorn kernel, the pit of a fruit, or any other hard object that is not a part of your regular diet should not be chewed. Still, many people have the habit of crunching on these objects almost thoughtlessly, but the undue pressure and stress that it places on your teeth can crack or fracture your tooth’s structure. Ice is especially dangerous because of its extremely cold temperature and brittle nature.
Using Teeth for Odd Jobs
Many people have had moments when they needed to open a bag of chips, uncap a bottle, cut a piece of string off of a shirt, or some other miscellaneous action that seemed to require the use of your teeth. As strong as healthy human teeth are, however, they are not meant to be nature’s little toolbox. If a tooth is even slightly weakened, such as is common directly after eating, then biting on inedible objects can cause a piece to break off or the tooth to fracture. Keep common items handy, like scissors and bottle cap openers, to avoid the temptation of using your teeth for convenience.
When you’re angry, stressed, or otherwise agitated, you might clench your teeth as your jaw muscles and the rest of your body become tense. Some people clench and grind their teeth constantly, simply out of habit. While the occasional tooth-clench may not cause damage to your teeth, consistently placing excessive pressure on your teeth can ruin their structural integrity. Bruxism, or the habit of grinding your teeth, can also damage the joints that connect your lower jaw to your skull, called the temporomandibular joints (TMJs). The onset of TMJ disorder is typically marked by severe and/or frequent discomfort in the face, head, neck, ear, and shoulder region, as well as difficulty opening and closing your jaw completely.
Take Better Care of Your Dental Health in West Des Moines
To learn more, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Jessica Johnson, contact Valley Ridge Family Dental today at (515) 327-62230. Located in West Des Moines, we proudly serve patients from West Des Moines, Waukee, Urbandale, Clive, and the surrounding Des Moines metro communities.