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Habits That Harm Your Teeth (And How to Break Them)

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Habits that harm your teethWe all have bad habits. Some of them, particularly those tied to anxiety, can lead to issues regarding the teeth and jaw. Eating throughout the day, nail biting, and jaw tightening/clenching are common examples of habits that may contribute to poor oral health. In this blog post Atlanta Smiles & Wellness, a family dental practice in Atlanta, discusses these habits and how to break them.


Constantly eating throughout the day, particularly high-carbohydrate foods and sugary drinks, can contribute to excessive food particle buildup on the teeth and gums. Bacteria feeds on these food particles and produces an acid that is detrimental to your tooth enamel.

How to Break the Habit: Healthy eating at specific times of the day, such as at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, can help you reduce the excessive buildup of bacteria and reduce the amount of acid that attacks and destroys the enamel.

Nail Biting

Nail biting often has psychological underpinnings and generally stems from low to mild forms of anxiety. This habit can have detrimental effects to the teeth over time, slowly chipping your teeth and affecting your jaw. Plus, it also creates ragged, unappealing nails.

How to Break the Habit: Some nail polishes on the market are specifically designed to deter nail biting. These polishes are bitter-tasting and decrease the likelihood of putting the fingers in the mouth. Additionally, stress reduction, getting enough sleep, and even therapy can help address the underlying issues associated with nail biting, helping to eliminate the risk for teeth damage.

Clenching the Jaw

Tightening or clenching of the jaw is another habit that can be related to stress and anxiety in some circumstances. This habit can contribute to the cracking or chipping of the teeth and can increase the risk for joint pain or muscle tenderness.

How to Break the Habit: To break the habit, relaxation and stress reduction exercises can provide immediate relief. Additionally, the act of being aware that the clenching or tightening is happening can also prevent future occurrences. A mouth guard at night may also be necessary.

Improve Your Dental Health with Atlanta Smiles & Wellness

At Atlanta Smiles & Wellness, we understand the issues surrounding your oral health goals. If you’re facing a particularly harmful habit that poses a risk to your teeth and gums, you may require a dental expert to help you overcome these issues while treating any current damage the habits have caused. To learn more about how we can help, schedule an appointment today by calling (404) 262-7733.