Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Why Some Have More Oral Problems Than Others (part 3 of 3)

This is the 3rd part of the blog entitled Why Some Have More Oral Problems Than Others. In the first part we discussed how our hygiene or inadequate hygiene affects our oral health. The part focused on our diets. This time we will discuss habits that are detrimental to oral health.


Anyone can come up with a more comprehensive list of habits that are bad for our oral health. Here are some bad habits that I frequently encounter:
  • clenching/grinding
  • chewing ice
  • biting fingernails
  • bulimia
  • smoking
  • using teeth as a tool.
  • athletic events without mouthguards
  • using toothpicks
  • eating non-consumable items

Clenching and Grinding

Many people clench and/or grind their teeth. When we sense stress, the first thing we do is clench our teeth. Unfortunately, most of us are completely unaware that we're doing it. I've even had people tell me that they don't clench as I'm watching them clench.

The problem with clenching and grinding is that we either break teeth or wear them down.

Chewing Ice

I've been guilty of this. It's not good to chew anything that is hard. Yeah, the teeth are capable of crushing ice, but when done frequently, the teeth are subjected to an incredible amount of stress and are more prone to wear and breakage just as in clenching/grinding.

Biting fingernails

I can almost always tell if someone habitually bites their fingernails from the wear pattern on the front teeth. The front teeth become noticeably worn and flat.


People that are afflicted with this disorder make themselves throw up regularly. The pH of gastric juices range around 1.35 to 3.5. These acids are very strong and very corrosive. The attack on the minerals of the teeth occurs incredibly fast.


We are all well aware of the fact that smoking is detrimental to our overall health. Most know that it makes your teeth black, brown or yellow. What most people don't realize is  that smokers typically have the worst cases of periodontitis.

Using teeth as a tool

Many people like to break, tear, pry objects with their teeth. Teeth should not complement your toolbox. Fishermen need to use something else to cut their fishing lines. Beer drinkers should use bottle openers. You get the idea right?

Athletic events without the protection of a mouthguard

If you aren't using an athletic mouthguard, be prepared to lose teeth and have high dental bills.

Using toothpicks

I don't know why toothpicks are even made. I guess they serve well when trying to bind sandwiches and other foods. They are however very bad for your gums. Just floss. It'll do a better job and not cause unnecessary trauma to the gums.

Eating non-consumable items

Eating items such as pencil erasers, plastic, rocks, glass and countless other items are obviously not good for you. Yes, it sounds crazy, but people have eaten these items and more.

There are so many other bad habits that I could write forever about them. Basically, use your teeth wisely. Here's an analogy. Suppose you have a car and you drive it fairly safely. You also perform routine maintenance on it. These days, it's very likely that you'll get well over a couple hundred thousand miles out of it. If however, you took it to the track and raced it regularly and performed little to no maintenance, You'll be incredibly lucky to even reach 20,000 miles.

Dr. Cisneros maintains a practice in Freeburg and Columbia, IL. Both are in the Greater St Louis, MO area. For more information on a wide variety of subjects, please visit www.advanced-smiles.com

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