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The Worst Oral Habits

Habits. We all have them. Habits are a routine behavior one does, sometimes without even realizing it. When it comes to your oral health, some habits can be beneficial. For example, brushing twice a day and flossing daily. However, some habits can also be detrimental to your oral health. In fact, here are some of the worst oral habits: 

Biting Nails

Woman biting her nails

Biting your nails may not seem detrimental to your oral health at first, especially since your nails receive most of the damage. However, nail-biting can actually cause your teeth to become chipped. Additionally, the position of your jaw when biting your nails is abnormal and places strain on the joint. The more time you spend biting your nails, the longer your jaw is in this abnormal position. Eventually, this can result in jaw pain and dysfunction. Instead, try bitter nail polish or fidgeting with something in your hands to prevent nail-biting. 

Grinding Your Teeth

Grinding or clenching your teeth, more formally known as bruxism, is an unfortunate habit brought on by stress. It often occurs unconsciously while sleeping, so you may not know you are a bruxer. Oftentimes, it is diagnosed by your dentist when they notice the wear marks on your teeth. Not only does bruxism cause enamel wear, but it can also lead to chips or cracks in the teeth. Severe bruxism can also cause jaw pain and is a main contributor to temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). While it may be hard to stop grinding or clenching your teeth, stress management and a dental night guard can reduce symptoms and protect your teeth. 


Yes, there is such a thing as over-brushing. This has little to do with how many times you brush, rather it is based upon how hard you brush. When you brush your teeth, it should be more of a massage and less of a hard scrub. You should also be using a toothbrush with soft bristles. If your toothbrush has bristles that are flared out sideways, this may be a sign you are brushing too hard. Rough brushing can eventually damage your enamel and gums. 

Chewing on Ice

Both ice and tooth enamel have a crystalline structure. This means that when they are pushed together, one will inevitably break. Although this is usually the ice, there are cases when it can be your tooth or even a filling. Drinking with a straw can help curb the temptation of chewing on ice. 

Using Your Teeth as Tools

using teeth to open bottle

This is a habit that we have probably all been guilty of at one time or another. Unfortunately, it is an extremely dangerous habit that can lead to tooth and jaw damage. For these reasons, you should never use your teeth for anything but eating. This means not using your teeth like scissors, to hold things, or to open bottles and packages. 

As you can see, these are some of the worst oral habits to have. Not only are these habits detrimental to your oral health, but they can result in the need for restorative dental treatments and possible emergency dental treatment. Luckily, taking steps to break these habits means that you will have a decreased risk of dental injury and overall better oral health. 

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