It is common knowledge that some foods are better for your teeth than others. Some promote a healthy mouth, and others promote the growth of bacteria that can lead to tooth decay. Still, habits that use your mouth while you are not eating also play a large role in your dental health. There are three habits in which many people engage that can negatively affect tooth health over time:

Nail Biting

Chronic nail biting is classified as an obsessive-compulsive disorder. It usually arises from nervousness or anxiety, and although it may begin in childhood, it may peak during the teen years. Nevertheless, some adults may have the habit so ingrained that they do not realize that they are nail-biters at all. 

This hard-to-break habit can cause a number of dental issues to arise over time, such as chipped or cracked teeth. In addition, jaw problems may arise from the constant stress of having a your jaws engaged as you nibble on your nails.

If your nail-biting or tooth clenching is caused by certain stressful situations, try to be aware of what your triggers are so that you can mitigate the behavior before it happens. Choose another mouth-occupying habit that is beneficial to your oral health, such as chewing sugarless gum. 

Using Your Teeth as Tools

People are extremely resourceful, and when they are unable to find something to help them open a package, they tend to use their teeth. A popular party trick, especially among young adults, is opening a beverage bottle using the teeth rather than a bottle opener. Both of these scenarios prove detrimental to dental health.

Using your teeth as tools can cause a jaw injury or a chipped tooth. In addition, the object could slip and lacerate the gums. Even using your teeth to hold something when your hands are full can place stress on your teeth. It's better to take multiple trips that to damage your teeth by holding an object between your jaws.

Clenching Your Teeth

Clenching the jaw and grinding your teeth commonly happen when a person is stressed or sleeping. When it occurs as you sleep, it is known as bruxism. If you suffer from nightly teeth grinding, use a mouth guard to protect your teeth from wearing away or suffering fractures. In addition, keep stress at a minimal by finding alternative ways to release it, such as exercising.

If you are concerned about the affects of a particular habit on your dental health, schedule a consultation with a dentist in your area. He or she can help you find additional ways to break your habit and avoid oral health problems.