Ranging from stress due to work, to biting on pens or pencils while concentrating and the coffee to keep you going through the work day. A lots of stuff that we do involuntarily while working can be excessively damaging to the teeth. We might not realize it until it is too late. This makes understanding the habits that damage your teeth more important, so that they can be stopped before the condition becomes irreversible.
1. Grinding your teeth while working:
Notice if you are grinding your teeth/ nails while you work.
Why should I stop: A common habit while concentrating, grinding teeth and biting on nails can cause the outermost layer of the tooth known as enamel to wear off, causing sensitivity.
Instead: Use a chewing gum initially, it will take the grinding forces away from the teeth. Also, be aware of this habit, this will decrease the duration of grinding as you will stop as soon as you realize you have been grinding your teeth or biting your nails.
2. Using you tooth as a tool:
Don’t use your teeth to rip off tapes or open packaging and holding pins in the mouth.
Why should I stop: Using your teeth to cut tapes or open packages can cause toothache or fracture of the tooth/teeth. Holding pins in the mouth can cause notches in the teeth with sharp edges that could cause ulcers in the soft tissue of the lips and cheek.
Instead: Use a scissors to cut tapes and open packaging ;-)
3. Chewing pens or pencils:
Avoid snacking on office stationary.
Why should I stop: Along with not being very hygienic and thus being a potential cause for stomach upsets, chewing on them can damage the teeth notching them and causing sensitivity and increased incidence of cavities.
Instead: Snack on carrot sticks.
4. The caffeine that keeps you going:
Reduce the number of cups of tea / coffee that you consume to keep you going through a long day.
Why should I stop: Tea/ coffee not only stain the teeth but also dry the mouth. A dry mouth is more prone to cavities.
Instead: Replace your tea/coffee with green tea. Along with having small amounts caffeine they stain and dry the mouth to a lesser extent than the regular tea/coffee.
Initially you could also reduce the harmful effect by drinking water after consuming tea/coffee that would hydrate the mouth and reduce the stains.
5. Taking smoke breaks
Smoking itself has a very adverse effect on the mouth, gums and teeth along with the rest of the body. It has specifically been mentioned here because work stress causes increased smoking and thus multiplies the adverse effects too.
Why should I stop: Besides being the leading cause of lung cancer, smoking also increases your risk of tooth cavities, gum diseases and even oral cancer.
Instead: Initially use e-cigarettes. Although devoid of tobacco that is the major cause of illnesses related with smoking, e- cigarettes still contain nicotine, can harm gum health.
Eventually the best way to avoid ill effects of smoking is to quit it entirely.
6. Chewing on gum excessively
Typically, when you are very conscious about your bad breath you might tend to chew on gum excessively. More so in a professional environment where you talk to people and are conscious about your bad breath.
Why should I stop: chewing gum excessively damages the joint of the lower jaw, which is present close to the ear. This might initially have symptoms as ear aches or even headaches and can damage the joint very adversely.
Instead: Find out the reason causing the bad breath and resolve it.
Avoid Avoid snacking on sweet and sticky foods.
Why should I stop: with every meal the outer layer of the tooth dissolves and it requires about 30 to 45 minutes for complete remineralization. Snacking multiple times causes demineralization of the tooth multiple times and not giving enough time for the complete remineralization. This results in the teeth getting dissolved and more prone to cavities. The amount of sweet you consume is less important than the number of times or the frequency of consuming sweets.
Instead: Have a wholesome meal.