In our last blog post, we discussed how sleep disorders can affect dental health. Some sleep issues are related to habits like tooth grinding or snoring. But there are lots of other habits or conditions that can affect oral health. Learn more about some things that you might not realize can affect the health of your teeth.
Many people know that symptoms of bulimia can cause damage to tooth enamel. However, there are other disordered eating habits that can affect your teeth.
Often associated more with anxiety than with eating, pica describes a compulsion to eat non-food items. In extreme cases (and more commonly among children), this can result in eating things like dirt or rocks, which can damage or break teeth. But pica can also result in chewing on one’s hair, pens and pencils, and other household items. This can cause painful breakage to your teeth in some cases, but chronic chewing on pencils, pen caps, or even ice can also cause long term damage.
It may seem like little more than an annoying habit leftover from childhood, but did you know that chronic nail biting can damage your tooth enamel? Fingernails are made of keratin, which is a flexible but very hard substance. Constantly biting your nails can wear down the enamel or even cause your teeth to crack!
Dermatillomania (Skin Picking)
Like pica, this term is often associated only with extreme examples. However, picking at skin is a common stress response for many people.
How does this affect dental health? Two of the most common areas that people tend to target are the fingers and the lips/mouth. Picking at these areas can result in chronic pain and even infections. This makes thorough dental hygiene less likely, as people in pain are more likely to avoid brushing and/or flossing.
Smoking & Vaping
It’s well known that smoking can cause stains as well as damage to your teeth, gums, and mouth. While vaping is sometimes viewed as a more healthy alternative, it can still do extensive damage to your oral health. Nicotine lowers saliva production, which can result in dry mouth, bacteria increase, and tooth decay. In addition, because nicotine is a stimulant, it can increase tension in the jaw, which can start or exacerbate tooth grinding habits.
At Orzechowski & Arndt, we want to help you ensure a healthy and beautiful smile! Contact us to make an appointment!