Monday, February 14, 2011

Bad Oral Habits

While it is obvious that our teeth's main purpose is the initial processing of foods before swallowing, it is sometimes not so clear what other functions should be expected! As capable as our teeth are in biting and chewing food, there exists many limitations outside of this realm. 
In all my years of  clinical experience, I've come across lots of pathologies that are self-inflicted through misuse of teeth. As a general rule, I always tell my patients that when in doubt don't do it. It is easy to forget sometimes that our teeth can be quite fragile under certain circumstances and misuse could cause chips and fractures, resulting in unnecessary dental work. Here is a short list of some common things to avoid; Chewing ice, chewing non-food objects such as finger nails and pens, chewing some hard nuts either with or without shells, cutting strings and aggressive use of toothpicks, just to name a few.
We also recommend night guards to those who have a tendency to clench and/or grind their teeth. They are a small investment to make that can go a long way in preventing reversible or irreversible damage.
Lastly, please remember that it is not that we do not want to see you in the dental office. We just do not want to have to treat you in preventable situations! Please try to avoid using your teeth as a multi-purpose tool, unless of course it is for processing food!