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Teeth are made of strong, durable substances. Unfortunately, when teeth are not used properly, they can become damaged. Here are some bad habits that can do damage to your teeth, gums, and jaw, as well as some ways to adjust your lifestyle.


Biting Fingernails: Frequently jutting out your jaw can put an inordinate amount of pressure on your joint. Biting your nails also puts you at risk of chipping or breaking teeth. Try using bitter-tasting nail polish, or reducing your overall levels of stress. If certain situations are triggers for you, find something to do with your hands or remove yourself from the situation, if possible.


Chewing Ice: Enamel and ice cubes are both crystalline. If you press two crystals together with enough force–such as when you are chewing ice– one of them will break! Granted, it is usually the ice, but occasionally it is your tooth enamel that succumbs. The risk of breaking your teeth is far greater than any pleasure you get from chewing ice. Try using a straw to reduce temptation.


Using Teeth as Tools: Teeth are designed for biting and chewing food, not opening things or holding things when your hands are full. Using teeth as tools greatly increases your risk of breaking or chipping teeth; it also puts pressure on your jaw. It puts you at risk of swallowing things that you shouldn’t. Take a minute and find the tools required–or someone to give you a hand. Your smile will be grateful to you.


Brushing Too Hard: While brushing your teeth can be one of the best habits you can develop for mouth health, you MUST use a soft-bristled toothbrush and gentle pressure when you brush. Using a medium-to-stiff- bristled toothbrush and brushing too hard can both damage your tooth enamel and your gum tissues. This opens them up to infection and tooth erosion.


For more information, call Virginia Dental Solutions in Reston, Virginia, at 703-437-8811.  Dr. Sumit Sharma and our team are happy to assist you in developing healthy dental habits!