When you see a sign along the road that says the above, you pay closer attention to the road. You might even grip the steering wheel a little tighter. You are preparing for a change! Something different is about to happen and you don’t want to be caught unaware.
Due to the recent “stay-at-home” restrictions in California, many of us in Yuba City have dealt with “curves” in our daily lives. Extra time on our hands, leading to boredom, anxiety or getting a lot of projects done! If we look only at the two former problems, however, boredom and anxiety often lead to bad dental habits that endanger your oral health.
Lookout for Bad Habits
We can develop poor dental habits without even realizing it! Therefore, keep these poor habits in your thoughts. Pay attention to whether they have become regular activities during your day.
Chewing Objects — It’s common for people to chew on pencils, pens, toothpicks, cigars, and other objects. There are many reasons why this is a very bad idea, with damaging the teeth and especially the gums being foremost. For others, they simply chew the one thing that’s right “at hand” — their fingernails. You might think that fingernails are nowhere near hard enough to endanger your teeth, but your nails pick up all kinds of foreign microbes from the surfaces they touch throughout the day. Add in fears of the COVID-19 virus resting on any number of surfaces and it’s even more important to avoid nail biting. Monitor times of stress and boredom and prepare to keep your fingers away from your mouth. Consider using bitter-tasting nail polish, wearing gloves, or merely holding something to deter this bad habit.
Constant Snacking — snacking or binge eating out of boredom, stress or anxiety often takes its toll silently. By the time we notice the results, such snacking has become a habit. A constant supply of food in front of us also means a constant supply of food for the bacteria in your mouth, so they can produce plaque, tartar and more bacteria, leading to stronger attacks on your teeth and gums.
To combat snacking, eat regular, well-balanced meals so you feel satisfied. Use celery, carrots or apples instead of chips or crackers if you want to snag. Drink water while you do it to rinse the mouth. And don’t snack on ice! It’s tough on your teeth, and a bad habit in itself.
Teeth as Tools — Have you ever torn open an envelope or package with your teeth? Have you used them to open a bottle? Many people resort to such actions out of frustration because the proper tool isn’t handy. In that case, remember that teeth are never the proper tool for such tasks. Using teeth as tools invites chips or fractures on your enamel, and a small slip of the grip leads to many lacerated gums. Stop and take the time to find the right tool to accomplish the task. Teeth are meant for eating and smiling, never anything else!
Tobacco —tobacco products are often used for stress relief, despite the fact that they are known to be disastrously unhealthy. For instance, tobacco dries out your mouth, allowing plaque to increase. It also constricts blood flow to the gums, inhibiting nutrients from getting to your gums and jawbones. And let’s not forget oral and lung cancers caused by tobacco products. Even though the nicotine habit is hard to quit, there are many programs, pointers and support groups to help you break this habit. As an alternative, try chewing a stick of sugarless gum. There are even cessation products that may be recommended by your dentist.
Maintain Your Dental Status Quo
These are stressful times, with unseen curves ahead, but keeping good dental habits helps to deter negative ones. Brush for two minutes, twice a day. If you have a water flosser, use it along with regular flossing. Schedule your semi-annual checkup and cleaning with the Yuba City Dental Group and keep your appointments. Dental visits are now available, so take advantage of it!