There are multiple ways in which your teeth can be damaged. Sometimes, however, you may not realize the amount of physical pressure you may be placing on a tooth until it becomes chipped or cracked. Here are three things to avoid to keep your teeth intact:

Biting Pens or Pencils

Many people habitually place a pencil between their teeth as they are working. This practice can result in a chipped tooth. The habit is often performed to alleviate stress, and unfortunately, the bite pressure applied to the writing instrument may be greater than it seems. The hard wood of a pencil or the plastic of a pen are not made to be chewed. If a weak spot is present in the structure of your tooth, a dental chip or crack may result.

Instead of biting on a pencil or pen, elect healthier oral habits, such as chewing sugarless gum or sipping repeatedly on a bottle of water. The gum can help stimulate saliva production to dilute oral acids. In addition, the gum can pull plaque and bacteria from the surface of the teeth and gums. With gum, you're still able to enjoy the stress-relieving motion of chewing but without the dental damage. 

In addition, you can sip on a bottle of water. If the water is fluoridated, it can help harden your tooth enamel to make damage less likely. The water can also help wash away trapped particles of food to prevent the formation of plaque that can weaken a tooth through decay.

Bruxism without a Guard

Bruxism, which is the medical name for grinding teeth, is also associated with chipped or cracked teeth. The condition usually occurs at night. When bruxism takes place, the teeth are pressed together and moved back and forth in a grinding motion. The stress caused by the pressure-filled motion can incite a dental fracture.

The damage from bruxism can be avoided by using a night guard. The mouth guard fits over the teeth and absorbs much of the bite pressure associated with grinding. In addition, it does not allow the teeth to move against the teeth of the other palate. A mouth guard can be purchased at a local drugstore. However, the best-fitting guards are usually customized and purchased from a dental office.

Chewing Ice 

Chewing ice is also associated with damaging your teeth. The hard chips can damage teeth and increase dental sensitivity. Instead of biting the ice, place a small chip in your mouth and just suck. The suction increases saliva in the mouth, and the melted ice offers the same benefits as water.

If you are concerned about the damage that you may be causing your teeth, schedule a consultation with a dentist like Macpherson Scott Dr.