If you were to ask any health care professional about the mental state of most people at this time, they would likely use one word to sum it up – stressed. A common feeling that can be dangerous to the body, mind, and mouth, it can lead to the development of bad habits like smoking, nail-biting, and binge eating. With COVID-19 affecting the global population, more and more dentists may begin to see patients with deteriorating teeth and gums as a result of the stress and poor lifestyle choices occurring at home during this time. If you want to avoid being one of the many who will need additional dental care to fix a preventable problem, let an emergency dentist in Ripon share which bad dental habits you should give up now.
Kick the Habit and Stop Smoking
Smoking is one of the worst habits to form. Not only does it wreak havoc on your body, but it weakens the immune system in such a way that it makes it difficult, if not impossible, to fight off infection. This is why many smokers often struggle with gum disease. The harmful bacteria attack the soft tissue surrounding your teeth, leading to inflamed, bleeding gums as well as the possibility for additional health-related problems once the infection enters the bloodstream.
If you need help to kick the habit, talk to your doctor or dentist about support groups or other cessation resources.
Give Your Nails a Rest and Chew on Sugarless Gum
Is biting your nails your go-to stress reliever? If so, it’s time to give it up. When you chew on your nails, you not only make your hands unappealing to look at, but the bacteria under your nails enters your mouth and begin to attack your gums and teeth. This can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. Not to mention, with each tiny bite, you are slowly wearing down your tooth enamel. Small fractures and chips can develop and lead to serious dental problems over time.
Instead of turning to your nails, try keeping sugarless gum in your pocket.
Look for Healthier Alternatives When Snacking
If you are a stress eater, you’re not alone. When forced to stay at home, you may find yourself visiting your pantry, cabinets, and refrigerator much more often. This can lead to harmful results depending on the type of snacks you’re consuming. Choosing apples or celery? Great! Reaching for cookies and potato chips? Prepare for a mouth full of cavities. It’s easy to grab foods that are quick and immediately satisfy, but you will reap on the consequences not only when you try to put on your jeans but also when you visit your dentist in Ripon and discover you need a filling…or two.
Look for healthier options like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy, and leafy greens when preparing a meal. This will keep your waistline and smile in check.
When attempting to put all of these into practice, you may first want to identify your stressors and bad habits and find solutions to help you combat them. Whether it is making small and easy swaps (sugarless gum for nails), incorporating exercise into your daily routine, or talking over the phone with a licensed counselor, you’ll begin to see a noticeable difference in the way you (and your smile) feel.
About the Practice
At Silver Creek Dentistry, our team of dental experts understands it is a stressful time. COVID-19 has created obstacles and challenges that are difficult to navigate, especially when it involves oral health. With most dental offices closed and seeing only emergency patients, it is more important than ever to maintain healthy oral hygiene habits to keep your smile looking and feeling its best. If bad habits are taking a toll on your teeth and gums, visit our website or call (920) 748-7200. Let us provide you with tips and suggestions to prevent possible damage to your smile.