Bad Habits That Can Damage Your Oral Health And Smile

Bad Habits That Can Damage Your Oral Health And Smile

Good dental hygiene habits are important not only for a healthy mouth but also for a healthy body. Below are some of the habits that may be damaging your oral health.

Nail Biting

One bad habit that is sometimes considered a nervous habit is nail biting. Nail biting can damage your teeth, and it can also damage your fingernails. You might bite your nails when you’re bored or stressed. You might also chew on them out of habit. Either way, it’s bad for your teeth! Try keeping your hands busy with something else rather than chewing on your nails. This could include chewing gum or a stress ball. If you bite your nails because of anxiety or boredom, try finding other ways to relax. It might also be helpful to talk with a professional about what you’re experiencing.


Cigarette smokers are at a high risk of developing serious oral health issues. From oral cancer to gum disease, the effects of smoking on your oral health can be severe. Tobacco smoke contains harmful chemicals that irritate and damage the soft tissues and bone structure in the mouth.

Smokers are also at a higher risk of getting cavities and tooth loss due to weakened enamel. In addition, tobacco also stains teeth brown or yellow, and the tar from cigarettes can leave unattractive black spots on the teeth. In addition to staining the teeth, tobacco use is extremely damaging to gum tissue as well. The nicotine present in cigarettes reduces the blood flow in the gums, which can also lead to gum recession and receding gums.

Studies have found that smokers also have a higher level of bacteria and plaque buildup in their mouths than nonsmokers. This is a result of reduced saliva flow brought on by smoking and can lead to gingivitis and other periodontal diseases. If you currently use tobacco products and want to quit, ask your dentist about ways you can kick the habit for good and improve your overall oral health in the process!

Brushing Teeth Aggressively

Overzealous toothbrushing and improper tooth-cleaning techniques can damage the teeth and gums. The enamel is the outermost layer of the teeth and the most durable part. It protects the sensitive inner layers of the teeth from damage. When brushed too vigorously or with the wrong technique, the enamel can be worn away, exposing the dentin underneath. Dentin is softer than the enamel and more susceptible to decay and cavities. 

Overaggressive brushing habits include using a hard-bristled brush to brush your teeth, pressing down too hard on the bristles while applying too much force to the gums, holding the brush at an angle rather than in a vertical position, and brushing for too long. To learn more about proper tooth-brushing techniques and to care for your oral health, schedule a consultation with our practice today! 

Teeth Grinding

Teeth grinding is a common problem that affects many people. It can occur when we sleep or when we are awake. It can be triggered by stress, anxiety, and anger. The condition can cause significant damage to our teeth and oral health. Bruxism is linked to oral problems such as gum recession, tooth loss, tooth sensitivity, worn-down enamel, and TMJ disorder. If you have the habit of teeth grinding, your dentist can recommend ways like a mouthguard to treat this condition and prevent further damage to your child’s teeth.

Using Teeth As Tools

While playing with your fingernails or cutting tape with your teeth may not result in obvious damage right away, the habit can chip teeth and wear away enamel over time. Things like opening packages with your teeth may seem like harmless habits, but over time they can create damage and affect your oral health. If you must open a package, be sure to stick to using a tool instead.

When you want to take good care of your teeth and gums, it’s essential to avoid these bad habits. If you do notice any lingering tooth damage or other oral health problems from your habitual behavior, talk to your dentist about what’s causing the problem and what treatment options may work best for you.

To learn more, call A Better Smile Dentistry at (505) 208-0505 and schedule an appointment with the dentist or visit us at 475 Coors Blvd NW, Ste A, Albuquerque, NM 87121. 


475 Coors Blvd NW, Ste A, Albuquerque, NM 87121

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