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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 dental habits do more harm than good, but you may not know how to quit. The following outlines how each habit harms your teeth and what you can do to empower yourself to ditch the habit:

Nail Biting: The Academy of General Dentistry states that nail-biters risk cracking, chipping or simply wearing down their front teeth. Those with braces face even greater risks: a shortening of teeth roots or even tooth loss. To stop this habit, wear bad-tasting nail polish. You may also consider getting a mouth guard.

Pen Chewing: Biting hard objects like pens or pencils can cause dental stress fractures and even irritate your chewing muscles. Try switching to only writing instruments that are harder to chew – like mechanical pencils or metal pens. You can also find a hard top to place over pens or pencils or wrap tape around the top of them.

Smoking: Smoking doesn’t just hurt your body and mind; it leads to stained teeth, bad breath, gum disease and oral cancer. Quitting cold turkey is popular, but not generally very effective. We recommend nicotine replacement patches, medication, cognitive behavioral therapy, and support groups.

Teeth Grinding: Grinding your teeth at night or clenching them due to stress can cause permanent damage to your jaw muscles and joints. Dr. James C. Ma can help reverse this problem with a night guard, therapy techniques or other solutions.

Do you need help breaking your habit? Our dentist in Bakersfield, California is glad to support you. Simply call 661-324-9709 to book an appointment. We’re here to serve.