5 Bad Oral Habits And How to Break Them

Your body is a temple and your mouth is its sacred door – or something like that. Habits can be hard to break, and there are a lot of bad ones that can act as a battering ram to the aforementioned door. Before this analogy falls apart any further, let’s take a look at some of those bad habits, and how to break them:

Crunching

From biting into ice cubes to trying (in vain) to break through that jawbreaker – that candy is called a jawbreaker for a reason, and it’s not because your jaw is going to be good at breaking it. When you have a tendency to bite down on hard objects, you’re putting your teeth at risk.

Mindfulness is the best way of breaking this habit – when you have ice cubes in your mouth, be aware of the potential harms, and avoid biting down. Mindfulness, however, isn’t exactly the easiest skill to develop. In light of that, you’d do well to simply avoid putting ice cubes in your drinks. And please, don’t bite down on candies called jawbreakers. 

Grinding

Teeth grinding (known as bruxism) is a fairly common oral health problem. Exactly what prompts bruxism can be different from person to person – one of the most common causes is stress. Bruxism can be a real problem, leading to all kinds of conditions from chronic headaches to worn enamel. 

Mindfulness is, again, a useful tool here – but only during the daytime. Unfortunately, most grinding occurs at night, and consciousness is a prerequisite for mindfulness. Fortunately, there’s a pretty great solution for sleep bruxism in the form of night guards. You won’t so much be breaking the habit, but a guard will drastically reduce any negative impact.

Using Your Teeth as Tools

You’ve got a bag of treats you want to open but the packaging is just too dang tight! You can’t bust it open with your fingers, and you don’t have scissors handy, so you place your canines on it and rip…

…Bad idea.

Much like biting into jawbreakers, using your teeth as tools can put undue stress on them, causing them to fracture. You’re probably tired of reading that mindfulness is a good tool – we’re talking about unconscious habits here, so it’s going to keep coming up. That said, even if you’re mindful, if you don’t have the right tools you might still be tempted to use your teeth. Consider getting a spare pair of scissors, a spare box cutter, and an extra screwdriver. When you have the right tools accessible to you, you’ll be less tempted to improvise.

Smoking

The ultimate bad oral habit – you could fill a library with advice on how to stop smoking. In light of that, we won’t get into it too much here. Want to stop smoking? Get in touch with us. Every person is different, and there are different techniques that will work depending on your smoking habits and personal preferences. From nicotine patches to craving journals, the journey is complex, but well worth it.

Poor Oral Health Routines

This isn’t so much a bad habit as an absence of good habits – we’ll leave whether or not the two are the same to the philosophers. A lot of people never floss. A great way to tackle this is to buy a ton of floss (it’s pretty inexpensive) and leave it everywhere in your house. Your bedroom, your living room, your bathroom, your garage – it doesn’t matter. Out of sight, out of mind will then change to in sight, in mind.

Not brushing your teeth enough? The same strategy can be useful. You might also opt to set alarms to remind you to brush your teeth. Want more tips for great dental hygiene in Winnipeg? Give us a call!