Do you chew on pen caps or bite your nails? Did you know that these habits can be harmful to your teeth and oral health? You might be surprised how a seemingly innocent habit such as chewing on a pen cap can do damage to your oral health. Dr. William Wager and Dr. Brian Evans explain how common habits harm your oral health and damage your teeth.
Biting Your Fingernails
So you break a nail and can’t find nail clippers, what do you do? Many people might alleviate this problem by biting their nails. And for others, biting fingernails is just a nervous habit. Now imagine how many things your hands touch in a day’s time. Door knobs, elevator buttons, and sink faucets are riddled with bacteria that we encounter on a daily basis. Bacteria tend to collect on nail beds and underneath fingernails. When you chew your fingernails, you can potentially transfer the bacteria on your hands into your mouth.
Chewing on Pen Caps
Chewing on pen caps, ice cubes, and other hard objects is a common nervous habit that is destructive to your teeth. Habitually chewing and biting on hard objects will weaken tooth enamel over time by forming tiny cracks. Your tooth enamel protects your teeth from bacteria that cause cavities. Made of minerals, tooth enamel is not a living tissue and therefore cannot heal or repair from damage.
Using Abrasive Toothpaste Daily
Anti-tartar and whitening toothpastes typically contain more abrasive agents than simple fluoridated toothpastes. In fact, whitening toothpastes do not actually whiten your teeth, they only remove surface stains. Furthermore, tartar buildup can only be removed by special dental tools—not toothpaste. If you use abrasive toothpastes daily, you may cause permanent damage to tooth enamel. Wager Evans Dental recommends that patients use abrasive toothpastes sparingly and opt for ADA accepted simple toothpastes for daily use.