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Teeth are designed for biting and chewing food. Unfortunately, many people try to use their teeth for other tasks, such as biting nails, chewing on ice, or using teeth as tools. Here are some bad habits that can do damage to your teeth, and some proposed solutions.


Biting Fingernails: Jutting your jaw out frequently can put an inordinate amount of pressure on your temporomandibular joint. Biting nails also puts you at risk of chipping or cracking teeth. Try using bitter-tasting nail polish, or reducing your overall stress levels. If certain situations are triggers for you to bite your nails, find something to do with your hands instead.


Chewing Ice: Ice is crystalline, as is tooth enamel. If you press two crystals together hard enough, one of them will break. In this case it is usually the ice, but not always. Occasionally, it is your tooth enamel. The risk of breaking your teeth is far greater than any satisfaction derived from chewing ice. Use a straw to reduce temptation, or drink chilled drinks from the refrigerator.


Using Teeth as Tools: Again teeth are made for biting and chewing food–not opening things. Using teeth as tools increase your risk of breaking your teeth. This also increases the pressure on your jaw, and puts you at risk of swallowing things that you shouldn’t. Instead, take a minute and find the tools required (or someone to give you a hand). Your teeth will thank you.


For more information, call American Dental Associates in Chicago, Illinois, at 773-284-1645.  Dr. Dhiraj Sharma and our team are happy to help you create healthy dental habits!