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Many people unconsciously engage in bad oral habits, such as pen chewing, that can progressively damage teeth and lead to severe dental problems.

St. Joseph dentist Dr. Sven Erickson is dedicated to helping patients from southwest Michigan maintain and restore their smiles through comprehensive general dentistry and cosmetic dentistry care. If it’s time for your regular checkup, or you would like to learn more about your cosmetic dentistry options, please call Modern Dentistry Associates at 269-264-4388.

Following are some common habits that can cause significant harm to your teeth and overall oral health.

Pen Chewing, Nail Biting and Ice Crunching

These actions can all damage your teeth enamel and cause premature wear on your teeth.

They can also put undue pressure on your teeth and the network of joints, nerves and muscles in the connective region between your mandible (lower jaw) and skull. This can result in a wide range of problems, from chipped or cracked teeth to temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ/TMD).

Teeth Grinding

Also known as bruxism, excessive teeth grinding or jaw clenching can wear down and fracture the surfaces of your teeth. Teeth grinding can also damage existing dental work and contribute to the onset of TMJ/TMD.

Hard Brushing

Brushing your teeth at least twice every day is one of the most important things you can do to help preserve your oral health.

But brushing too hard, or regularly brushing with a hard-bristled toothbrush, can actually damage your teeth enamel, lead to sensitive teeth and irritate your gums. It’s important to use a soft-bristled toothbrush and brush in circular patterns with little pressure.

Using Your Teeth as a Tool

Your teeth are designed primarily to bite and chew. They are not an anatomical Swiss Army knife. Using your teeth to open bottles, rip of tags or hold objects can cause extensive damage to your teeth.


Your oral health has a direct impact on your systemic health, and smoking is just plain bad for both. In terms of your dental health, smoking can stain teeth, contribute to enamel loss and play a role in the onset of periodontal disease.

While it’s best to avoid or stop these habits, there are treatments that can correct damage caused by bad oral health behaviors. Dr. Erickson can help you understand your treatment choices based on your unique dental health needs and aesthetic goals.

If you live in the greater St. Joseph, Niles or Kalamazoo, Michigan, areas and would like to schedule your dental exam or cosmetic dentistry consultation with Dr. Erickson, please contact Modern Dentistry Associates today.

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