Everybody knows bad habits such as smoking, eating sugary foods, and drinking lots of soda can harm a person’s teeth. However, there are lesser-known habits just as harmful to a person’s dental health an all too common. Below, the Gainesville dentists at Comprehensive DMD share a few of the most common bad habits that can damage their teeth.

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Nail Biting

Nail-biting is a common nervous habit that is unhealthy for a variety of reasons. The germs that lurk beneath your fingernails can cause infections and damage tooth enamel, which can cause teeth to become misaligned. Moreover, biting your nails puts your jaw in an awkward position, which may lead to jaw dysfunction in the future. If you’ve got a nasty habit of biting your nails, try keeping your nails trimmed short, so you can’t bite them when you’re stressed or bored.

Chewing Ice Cubes

Many people have a habit of chewing on ice cubes. While chewing on ice seems like a completely harmless habit, it can damage your teeth over time. Our teeth aren’t accustomed to chewing on hard food like ice cubes, and the excessive force required to chew through ice can cause a person’s teeth to chip or crack. If you chew ice cubes, try drinking beverages without any ice for a while to kick the habit.

Brushing Too Hard

It is essential to brush your teeth for two minutes at least twice a day and floss to maintain healthy teeth. However, brushing your teeth too hard, or using bristles that are too firm, will do more harm than good. In particular, brushing too forcefully can result in gum recession and infections. An inflamed gum is an indication the person is brushing too hard/using a brush with bristles that are too firm. Investing in a soft bristle toothbrush that meets ADA standards will prevent problems caused by brushing too hard.

Grinding Your Teeth

People often grind their teeth unintentionally during sleep or when they feel stressed. Grinding your teeth, just like chewing on ice cubes, puts an incredible amount of strain on your teeth. Eventually, teeth can crack or chip as a result of excessive grinding. Even temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) can result from grinding teeth. To prevent this, try wearing a mouthguard when you sleep.