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Do you bite your nails or chew on pens? Do you smoke or grind your teeth at night? You probably recognize that these habits do more harm than good, but do you know the one detriment all have in common? Yep, you guessed it. They all harm your teeth. The following outlines how that is and more importantly, what you can do to quit.

Nail Biting: According to the Academy of General Dentistry, nail-biters risk cracking, chipping or simply wearing down front teeth. Those that wear braces face an even greater risk: a shortening of teeth roots or even tooth loss. To stop this habit, consider wearing a mouth guard for a time or wearing bad-tasting clear nail polish.

Pen Chewing: Did you know that biting hard objects like pens or pencils may cause dental stress fractures and even irritate your chewing muscles? Try using writing instruments that are harder to chew – like mechanical pencils or metal pens, or wrap tape around the top of them.

Smoking hurts your body, your mind, and your teeth. It leads to stained teeth, bad breath, gum disease and oral cancer. The only way to avoid risking these results is to quit. We recommend doing so gradually, as those who quit cold turkey usually have only 5% permanent success. Try nicotine replacement patches, medication, cognitive behavioral therapy, and support groups.

Teeth Grinding: Unconsciously grinding teeth at night or clenching your teeth due to stress can cause irreparable damage to your jaw muscles and joints. Dr. Kenneth Kirk can help reverse this problem with a night guard, therapy techniques or other solutions.

Do you need more help cracking the code to breaking your habit? Houston Cosmetic & Family Dental Associates in Spring, Texas is glad to help. Simply call 281-826-0025 to book an appointment. We’re here to support your success.