Dr. Edward Shluper, DDS | Mountain Lakes, NJ


Oral health is vital to maintain overall health. Good oral health means you have healthy teeth, gums, tongue, and mouth. It also keeps away bad breath. However, certain habits can be bad for our teeth. Listed below are some of these habits that can harm our oral health. 

Nail Biting

Nail biting can be destructive to our oral health. The act of biting your nails can lead to problems with your gums and teeth. Enamel can be worn down, tooth decay can occur, and the jaw is affected as well. Nail biting can also lead to TMJ disorder. This painful condition causes headaches, jaw pain, and even tooth sensitivity. If you have this habit, it’s recommended to stop as soon as possible. If you bite your fingernails out of nervousness or because of stress, try to redirect this nervous energy into another activity such as exercise or meditation. Hopefully, this will help you break the cycle and stop putting your teeth at risk by engaging in this bad habit.


Cigarettes contain chemicals that wreak havoc on our mouths. They cause staining of the teeth and increase the likelihood of gum disease and tooth loss. Tobacco use also increases the risk of oral cancer, a particularly deadly type of cancer. Eventually, it can lead to gum recession and yellowing of the teeth. Additionally, smokers often have bad breath. A smoker’s breath can often be described as smelling like stale cigarettes or having a stale coffee smell to it. Tobacco is terrible for your oral health; however, quitting smoking can help reverse some of the damage that’s been done to your mouth. At our office, we offer smoking cessation programs to assist you in quitting the habit for good.

Aggressive Brushing

Are you guilty of brushing your teeth too aggressively? Maybe you’ve noticed your gums receding or that you’ve been getting more cavities lately. If so, you may be asking yourself how you could be damaging your oral health when it seems like you’re really trying to take good care of it. The truth is aggressive tooth brushing is one of the most common habits that can cause damage to your teeth and gums. Here are some ways you could be overdoing it in your efforts to keep your mouth healthy.

Don’t brush too hard. While it may be tempting to brush your teeth with gusto, doing so can cause damage to both your enamel and the gums. While enamel is the hardest substance in the human body, it’s not indestructible. If you grind down your tooth enamel with extreme pressure whenever you brush, you run the risk of cracking the protective surface of your teeth. This can leave your teeth vulnerable to sensitivity and decay and can also cause tooth discoloration. The gums can be damaged from vigorous toothbrushing as well. Gums can recede away from the teeth if too much pressure is placed on them during cleanings. Receding gum lines can make your teeth look longer, which is unappealing to some. In some cases, receding gums can cause painful sensitivity and even expose the roots of the teeth, which leads to discomfort and can make eating difficult. It can also affect your smile’s appearance since exposed roots can look yellow in color. 

Avoid using a hard-bristled toothbrush. When choosing a new toothbrush, pick one that has softer bristles. This will help you avoid doing damage when you brush. If your bristles are tough and hard, they can wear away at the enamel of your teeth. They can also irritate the gums and other soft tissue in the mouth.

Teeth Grinding

Many people grind their teeth at night while they are asleep. When a tooth is damaged or decayed, it is more susceptible to damage from clenching and grinding. This is because these habits can cause fractures in the tooth enamel. Once this occurs, bacteria can leak into the pulp and cause an infection. If the damage is not addressed quickly, it could result in tooth loss. This is why it is important to visit your dentist and get a mouthguard as soon as possible if you notice signs of bruxism.

Using Teeth as Tools

In addition to being damaging to our oral health, using the wrong tool for the job can be very dangerous for your oral health. People use their teeth to open bottles, twist off caps on medicine bottles, rip open packages, and bite through food packaging. These acts can lead to the obvious health risks of breaking and chipping a tooth. If you do need to open something, try using your pliers, scissors, or even a knife instead. The risk just isn’t worth it.

Not Visiting the Dentist Regularly

Brushing and flossing your teeth every day are great ways to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. However, these habits alone are not enough to protect your smile from decay and disease. Regular dental care is also necessary, which is why we encourage patients to visit us at least twice a year for routine checkups and cleanings. These appointments allow us to check your smile and ensure that it is healthy and clean. You should visit your general dentist every six months for your routine checkup and cleaning to keep your mouth happy and healthy.

Edward Shluper DDS, located at Mountain Lakes, NJ, is equipped with expert dentists and modern technologies that enable the best dental care facilities for patients. Dial (973) 743-5432 and schedule a consultation with the dentist to avail a complete dental checkup for you and yourself.

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