Dentist-Orthodontist; Wellness Of Teeth And Overall Health Habits

Orthodontist Dentist; Wellness of teeth and overall health habits
Co-Editor-in-Chief, Judy J. Johnson, DDS
Wednesday, March 3, 2010 – 07:01 AM

Tooth Habits

There are many habits that individuals have which can affect the overall health and wellness of their teeth.  In some cases, orthodontic intervention may be necessary.  It’s important for patients to listen to dentist and orthodontic recommendations in order to avoid further damage to their teeth and jaw bone.

Tooth Grinding

Patients who grind their teeth typically do so as a stress-related behavior.  They do it during the waking hours and at night during sleep.  These patients often describe a sore jaw or a headache upon waking up in the morning.  Tooth grinding and tooth clenching go hand in hand.  It may be a subconscious habit, which the patient may not even be aware that he or she is doing.  Some experts believe that tooth grinding is due to sleep deprivation. 

Teeth grinding is very noisy and may be disturbing to someone’s sleeping partner.  Kids sometimes grind their teeth when they are shedding their baby teeth.  A dental professional or orthodontist will be able to see that someone is grinding their teeth by the wear and tear on the teeth. 

Such tooth grinding and jaw clenching habits are referred to as parafunctional habits when the grinding or clenching is beyond the normal habit.  This occurs when the habit becomes more frequent or excessive.  When an individual grits his or her teeth for a prolonged period of time, this type of habit is referred to as a tooth to tooth habit.  Parafunction habits can manifest as tooth to soft tissue habits as well.  An example of a tooth to soft tissue habit is thumb sucking, abnormal tongue posture habits or nail or foreign object biting.

Sucking on Your Thumb
Thumb sucking interferes with the positioning of the upper and lower teeth.  It can cause the upper teeth to splay out and the lower teeth to fold inward.  It may also cause open bite of the front teeth when the teeth are closed together.  An orthodontic treatment can treat these issues.  Sometimes, surgical repositioning of the upper and lower jaw relationships may be necessary as a form of treatment. 

Overzealous Brushing

This is a potential cause of gum recession as well as loss of supporting bone around the teeth.  Excessive scrubbing of the teeth, which can include brushing vigorously from side to side or up and down, might be compared to a jackhammer on full power.

Brushing too vigorously can cause the bristles of the toothbrush to drive the gums away from the tooth, eventually leading to exposed root surfaces.  When this occurs, it can cause tooth sensitivity to cold and to touch. 

The correct brushing method includes gently brushing the teeth and gums, yet effectively cleaning the teeth.  An electric toothbrush is often recommended because they provide the correct amount of pressure to effectively clean the teeth and keep the gums healthy. 

Biting and Chewing on Hard Ice
This is a very common habit and is bad for teeth.  This type of habit causes a tremendous amount of stress on the bite.  Ice is notorious for carving and breaking away rock and other mountains, so it’s easy to understand why it would be so hard on the teeth. 

Chewing on hard ice typically will lead to tooth pain, cracking, fracture and in some cases, may lead to total breakage of a tooth to the point where it cannot be repaired.  That being said, people should avoid chewing on ice at all costs.  If someone needs to chew hard ice for some reason, they should make sure that it is crushed and slushy. 

Holding Hard Objects between the Front Teeth
Individuals who hold hard objects between their front teeth, such as pens, pencils and other hard objects are also causing damage to their teeth.  The damage that this action causes is similar to the damage, which is done when an individual chews hard ice. 

Teeth can only withstand a certain amount of pressure and force.  Beyond that distinguished amount, the teeth become damaged.  Professionals typically recommend holding the teeth apart and lips together as often as possible.  This will help individuals to avoid unnecessary placement of hard objects between the teeth. 

Sucking on Lemons

Sucking on lemons is sometimes suggested for the purpose of teeth whitening, however, this is a very bad habit for someone to get into.  When done regularly, the citric acid from the lemons is extremely strong and can withdraw minerals from the teeth, which will erode the tooth’s surface. 

Chronic sensitivity to cold food and drinks, a chalky and worn look to the tooth enamel, weakening of the teeth, such as chipping and cracking and a greater tooth decay caused by loss of protective enamel can be side effects of sucking on lemons. 
There is a rumor that drinking citric fruit or eating a lot of citrus fruits is damaging to the teeth, but this is not necessarily accurate.  As long as these types of fruit drinks and fruit are not held in the mouth for too long, they don’t typically cause damage. For the references and resourced information, go to

Source by Neville Coward

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