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Teeth are made for biting and chewing food. Unfortunately, many people often try to use them for other things, such as biting nails, chewing on ice, or using teeth as tools. Here are some bad habits that can do damage to your teeth.

Biting Nails: Keeping your jaw in a protruding position can put an inordinate amount of pressure on your joint. Biting nails also puts you at risk of chipping or breaking teeth. Try bitter-tasting nail polish, or reducing your overall stress. If certain situations are triggers for you, find something to do with your hands.

Chewing Ice: Tooth enamel and ice are both crystalline. If you press two crystals together, one of them will break! Granted, in this case it is usually the ice, but occasionally it is your tooth enamel. The risk of breaking your teeth is far greater than any pleasure derived from chewing ice. Use a straw to reduce temptation.

Using Teeth as Tools: As we mentioned, teeth are made for biting and chewing food, not opening things or holding things when your hands are full. Using teeth as tools increases the risk of breaking teeth, as well as putting pressure on your jaw. It also puts you at risk of swallowing things that you shouldn’t. Take a minute and find the tools required or someone to give you a hand, and your teeth will thank you.

Brushing Too Hard: Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and gentle pressure when brushing teeth. Using a stiff- bristled toothbrush and brushing too hard can both damage your tooth enamel and your gum tissue, opening them up to infection and tooth erosion.

For more information, call Shanker Dental in Bridgeton, New Jersey, at 856-455-1183. Dr. Bennett R. Shanker and our team are happy to assist you in developing positive dental habits!