Habits That Are Bad For Your Oral Health

Habits That Are Bad For Your Oral Health

Posted by Korte Family Dentistry Oct 18,2022

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Good oral health is key to having a healthy body. If you feel that your oral health isn't as good as it should be, take a look at your daily routine. Chances are, you have at least one bad habit that might be causing damage to your teeth. Below are a few bad habits that can affect your oral health.

Nail Biting

It's almost normal for children to bite their nails every now and then. However, if they continue into adulthood, they may develop serious oral health issues. Nail biting causes gum recession and, eventually, tooth loss. The bacteria in the mouth that get into the digestive tract can result in stomach disorders like diarrhea and vomiting. Your fingernails are also loaded with germs that can easily cause skin infections around the mouth and fingertips. Try to notice when your child bites his nails so that you can guide him to stop. If you bite your nails, you may also be damaging your teeth and gums. Talk with your dentist about the right treatment for you.


Cigarettes contain nicotine, a substance that is highly addictive and can lead to many oral health problems. Here are some of the dental health issues that may result from smoking:

  • Stained Teeth

Smoking leaves dark stains on the teeth, which are difficult to remove even from professional teeth whitening treatments. These stains become permanent over time and are harmful to the teeth' enamel because of their acidic nature.

  • Gum Disease

Research shows that smokers are at an increased risk of developing gum disease. This disease damages the gums and other soft tissues of the mouth, eventually causing tooth loss when left untreated.

  • Oral Cancer

According to a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 50% of people with oral cancer have used tobacco in some form or the other. Smokers are also at a greater risk of developing cancers of the throat, lips, and tongue.

  • Tooth Decay

The plaque buildup caused by smoking increases your risk of tooth decay by several times. This is because the residue from the smoke can stick to the teeth and gums. Plaque contains millions of harmful bacteria that can cause cavities if not removed within 24 hours.

  • Dry Mouth

Nicotine, found in cigarettes, is a vasoconstrictor that causes blood vessels to narrow. As a result, the amount of saliva in the mouth also decreases. A dry mouth is more susceptible to tooth decay and infections because saliva helps to keep the teeth and mouth clean and healthy.

Want to avoid these harmful effects? Quitting smoking is the first step you can take toward improving your oral hygiene and overall health.

Aggressive Brushing

Brushing the teeth with too much force can damage the gums and the enamel of the teeth. This habit can also cause receding gums and tooth sensitivity over time. When you brush your teeth, focus on using a soft-bristled toothbrush and apply gentle pressure as you brush your teeth. When brushing the front teeth, tilt the brush at about a 45-degree angle in a back-and-forth motion. Be sure to use small circular motions while you brush the back teeth. Always clean your tongue as well to remove the odor-causing bacteria that reside there.

Teeth Grinding

Some patients grind their teeth in their sleep. This can lead to cracked or worn teeth and jaw pain. Night guards are a common treatment to prevent these issues. These devices resemble mouthguards worn by athletes and can be worn at night while you sleep. They keep the upper and lower teeth separated and prevent the teeth from coming into contact with each other. This prevents the damage caused by bruxism. "Bruxism" is the technical term for teeth grinding. This isn't a habit that you want to continue – it will only lead to more problems down the road! If you are concerned you may be grinding your teeth in your sleep, talk to your dentist. They can help to create a treatment plan for you to keep your mouth healthy and comfortable.

Not Visiting A Dentist Regularly

The American Dental Association recommends that adults and children visit the dentist every six months for a checkup and cleaning. While routine visits are important for our overall health, regular appointments are also necessary to protect your oral health. Without regular checkups and cleanings, we miss the chance to catch decay in its earliest stages and prevent it from becoming worse, causing discomfort and tooth loss. When we visit our dentists every six months, we are able to spot problems and resolve them before they require intensive treatment.

Apart from protecting our oral health, visiting the dentist every six months is also essential for maintaining a healthy smile. By choosing to visit a family dentistry practice twice a year, we are also able to easily identify common risk factors like gum disease and oral cancer. 

To schedule your appointment with us, contact Korte Family Dentistry at (402) 489-3115 or visit us at 3901 Normal Blvd STE 202, Lincoln, NE 68506. We will be happy to guide you further.

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