5 Dental Habits to Break

Categories: General Dentistry


You’ve probably heard the saying, “Old habits die hard.” That is often the case with many habits, including ones related to your oral health. You could be doing detrimental things to your oral health without even realizing it. Today on our newest blog, our family dentists in Scotts Valley at Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry share five dental habits you need to break to improve the health of your teeth and gums.

  1. Chewing on pens and pencils

Our tooth enamel is quite durable. In fact, it is known to be the strongest substance in the human body. But that doesn’t mean our teeth are indestructible. Chewing on pens or pencils is an anxious habit of both children and adults or is done so to help relieve stress or curb oral fixations. You may do this bad habit without realizing it. Unfortunately, you put yourself at risk of chipping or fracturing a tooth or wearing down the enamel, exposing the more sensitive layer known as dentin. Once dentin is exposed, the tooth is highly sensitive and more susceptive to cavities and disease. Instead, consider chewing sugar-free gum or taking a short walk, or switching tasks if you’re feeling frustrated at your current task. Sometimes, just giving your mind and body a few minutes to breathe can give you a new outlook on the difficult task you’re facing. You run the same risks if you’re a nail-biter.

  1. Playing sports without a mouthguard

Most people who play sports or participate in other sporting activities don’t think too much about wearing a mouthguard until it’s too late. Children and adults alike should wear a properly fitted sports guard to protect their teeth while engaging in sports or other activities where they run the risk of injuring their mouth or face. While store-bought sports guards may seem like a good deal price-wise, they aren’t going to fit as snugly, which means they won’t provide as much protection as a custom-made mouth guard from the dentist. And leaving your teeth vulnerable to getting avulsed or knocked out should not be an option either. Therefore, if you or your child plays sports, we recommend requesting a custom-made sports guard from the dentist,

  1. Eating and drinking too much sugar throughout the day

It’s no secret that children love sugar and that many adults crave a sugar fix throughout the day to combat feeling sleepy and spike their energy. Snacking on sweets or even packaged snacks like chips and crackers, as well as sipping on sugary drinks throughout the day increase the risk of cavities. We aren’t going to tell you to avoid sugar entirely, but it’s better to be mindful of how often you consume it. Teeth are at a higher risk of cavities through consistent exposure to sugar. It’s better to eat sugar around mealtime or in one sitting and be done with it for the day than it is to spread out your servings throughout the day, constantly bathing your teeth in sugar.

  1. Clenching and grinding your teeth

Bruxism or clenching and grinding your teeth can occur in both children and adults and it can lead to chronic headaches, and neck and back pain. As the condition is left managed, you may experience dental pain or pain in the jaw joints known as temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. One of the first lines of defense against bruxism is a custom mouth guard made from impressions of your mouth. Our dentist can fit you for a comfortable oral appliance that can be worn while sleeping to absorb the friction and force applied when clenching and grinding your teeth. In turn, the mouthguard absorbs pressure and protects your teeth against damage.

  1. Using tobacco

Tobacco usage can do a lot of damage to your health, including your teeth and gums and the damage to your oral health goes beyond yellow-stained teeth. Tobacco actually increases the risk of gum disease, which causes the gums to recede or pull away from the base of the teeth, leading to weakened periodontal ligaments and eventually tooth loss. Additionally, tobacco usage slows blood flow, which slows healing when you have any kind of dental procedure done and could exclude you from being a candidate for dental implants. Even smokeless tobacco products like vaping can have devastating effects on your oral health. It’s best to kick the habit. We encourage you to talk to your doctor about a tobacco cessation program if you have ever tried to quit and failed or have ever thought about kicking the habit for good.

Family Dentists in Scotts Valley, Los Gatos, and Santa Cruz

Maintaining your teeth and gums requires good oral hygiene practices such as brushing and flossing daily, routine dental visits, and ensuring you aren’t unintentionally damaging your teeth by partaking in one of these bad habits. If you’d like to learn more about maintaining your oral health or would like information on a custom oral appliance for sports or to manage bruxism, please contact Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry by calling (831) 438-4411.